Monday, August 5, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #26 Keith Heitzman

Keith Heitzman (image via
Name: Keith Heitzman
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Hilliard (OH) Davidson
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #92
Last year: I ranked Heitzman #43 and said he would be the backup 5-tech defensive end. He was the backup 5-tech and finished with 7 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery.

Heitzman spent last season behind Craig Roh. Roh was one of those guys who didn't make a lot of great plays but didn't do much wrong, either. Heitzman seems like the same type of player, so he didn't really stand out last year as a backup. He made a tackle here or there and grabbed a fumble against Nebraska, but otherwise, he wasn't spotlighted much.

With Roh graduated and gone, there's a void at strongside end. There are several players who could  fill the spot, but Heitzman seems like the front-runner. He was the top backup there last season, he started there in the spring game, and the other players are even less experienced. Redshirt freshmen Matt Godin and Chris Wormley could also get reps at the position, and Godin in particular looked pretty impressive in the spring. I would expect there to be more rotation at SDE this year, so the backup(s) should get plenty of playing time, but Heitzman should be the first man on the field.

Prediction: Starting strongside end; 25 tackles, 2 sacks


  1. Reasonable spot for a (presumed) starter who could (probably) be easily replaced by a backup. I actually expect Heitzman to be beaten out by one of the more talented youngster and if not that, then squeezed out by Pipkins and Washington playing together on run downs and/or the WDE crew playing together on pass downs.

    In theory Kalis is in the same boat, as a starter who all things considered, probably won't be missed if he struggles. But I'd put Kalis well over Heitzman in these rankings because of importance to the teams success. If Kalis lives up to the hype, we probably have a good running game (at least to the left side with him pulling) but if he doesn't then it's walk-on time and Michigan's offense will continue to be limited by what the QB can conjur up.

    Plus, with frequent rotation a DL starter has a smaller role than an OL starter.

  2. I first noticed Heitzman the spring of his freshman year. He does not have the prototype frame - it is probably difficult for him to keep 275 lbs on. But he is slippery and has a natural knack for getting off blocks. I think he is about as good as Roh at the same point and could be a 3 or 4 sack guy. He may struggle against a bigger OT.

    As you mention, the question will be whether Wormley or Godin can bump him out. I'm skeptical about Godin as a pass rusher and we'll see if the Wormley hype from last fall is legit. My wild guess is that Heitzman stays at the top of the rotation this year and then is bumped next year after Taco grows into an SDE. Regardless, Heitzman has the goods to be a major contributor the next couple years.