Weight: 271 lbs.
High school: Hilliard (OH) Davidson
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #92
Last year: I ranked Heitzman #26 and said he would start at SDE with 25 tackles and 2 sacks. He started seven games and made 8 tackles and .5 tackles for loss.
I overestimated Heitzman's contributions last year. I thought his defensive tackle-ness would make him a solid 5-tech starter, and his high-effort attitude would make him a poor man's Ryan Van Bergen. Unfortunately, Heitzman isn't quite as bulky or athletic as Van Bergen. He began the year as the starter, but by the end of the season, weakside end Brennen Beyer had taken over the gig.
Heitzman moved to tight end in the off-season, partly because Jake Butt tore his ACL and Jordan Paskorz left with a year of eligibility remaining. He lacks some natural athleticism, so it would be a mistake to expect him to turn into a receiving threat. However, I think he's more aggressive and stronger than the other tight ends, including A.J. Williams. Williams has more experience, but by the end of the year, I believe Heitzman will be the more effective blocker of the two. Even if he's not, the challenge to Williams may spur both their efforts in a competition for playing time.
Prediction: Starting "blocking tight end" by end of season; 1 catch for 8 yards