Heuerman witnesses different side Of Kelly

Heuerman witnesses different side Of Kelly

Notre Dame tight end pledge Mike Heuerman welcomed Irish head coach Brian Kelly to his house Last week for an in-home visit. And before the night was over, Heuerman saw a different side of his future head coach.

The practice of college football coaches making in-home visits to prospects can often lead to some strange twists. And during Brian Kelly's visit to Naples, Fla., to see tight end pledge Mike Heuerman, the Irish head coach was tested.

"Coach Kelly was supposed to come in the week before but was traveling with Manti (Te'o) for a lot of awards stuff," said Heuerman. "So he had a bunch of unexpected stuff come up and then he was scheduled to come in on Tuesday throughout the day.

"But I remembered my brother Jeff (Ohio State tight end) was coming home on Wednesday and asked him if he could come a day later. I really wanted Jeff to meet him and him to meet Jeff. So I asked if he could work around it and come in on Wednesday night and he did and that was great."

Expecting to see Kelly and Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker, Heuerman got an extra surprise.

"Coach (Chuck) Martin was also in Florida and ended up driving in from Fort Lauderdale," said Heuerman. "So I got the whole package there."

While most home visits are small family affairs, Heuerman couldn't keep others away from the house.

"We had a lot of food neighbors brought over," said Heuerman. "Jeff came in Wednesday night and we hung out and had a couple of people come over to meet him. It was a good deal and a very good visit, I couldn't ask for anything better.

"We had a bunch of people (fans) that were begging to come by and meet coach and I told a few of them they could come by. So coach ended up getting his ear talked off.

It was at this time Heuerman saw Kelly come alive.

"Every single person I spoke with that came over that night to meet him were stunned by how good of a guy he was," explained Heuerman. "They loved having his presence and loved meeting him. Not only because of the name he has or what he's done with the football program this year. But just saying how open he was and how delighted he seemed to be meeting these people rather than having the reverse of just how excited they were to meet him.

"They loved him and loved how open he was to taking pictures and signing some stuff and just talking about everything. There was never a dull moment and he was definitely very good with it. It was real exciting to see a different side of him.

Not only did Kelly meet the older Heuerman brother, he also got a chance to meet the baby of the family.

"My baby brother Matt is definitely going to be the tallest out of us as he's already pushing 6-foot-5 and he's only a freshman," said Heuerman. "He's definitely supposed to be the best out of us and he needs to be held to a higher standard."

Final Preparations

Putting the final touches on his high school career Heuerman is taking those last few final exams and starting to realize his time in Florida and the sunshine is about up and live in South Bend with snow is right around the corner.

"Don't ask why I'm doing that," Heuerman said about leaving the sun for the snow of South Bend. "But it's funny how that stuff works out. It's crazy as it has definitely snuck up on me but I'm excited and can't wait. I'm not nervous as I can't wait to go.

"To be truthful I wish I was in a position where I could be there now and graduate this week and go up there and take part in practice next week."

While excited about the success the Irish have seen this season, Heuerman knows not many really thought the Irish would be getting ready to battle for a national championship.

"Definitely seeing all of this I would be lying if I said I expected them to be rolling like this," said Heuerman. "But it's Notre Dame football and Notre Dame football is winning football and it's coming back. When you sit down and watch Notre Dame they always find a way to win. Every single game coach Kelly will say, "find a way to beat Michigan", "find a way to beat Stanford" and the team responds."

While Heuerman took his official visit during the weekend of the Michigan game, he made a return trip for the Irish annual football banquet.

"I was up for the banquet and it was sweet," said Heuerman. "It was definitely a lot more than what I expected and getting a chance to see all the commits was great."

It was during this past visit Heuerman and other members of the class showed their strength in helping build one of the top recruiting classes in the country. What is their secret?

"We just wanted guys even if they were not committed to feel like they belonged," said Heuerman. "Like we did last weekend with Greg (Bryant) we all just wanted to make him feel like he was one of us and that he belonged to the class.

"We made him feel welcomed and that has opened the door for so many more people and so many more players to come through and make a decision."

As one of several early enrollees, Heuerman is still not sure who he'll have as a roommate.

"Right now I don't really know but it's going to be either (Alex) Anzalone or (James) Onwualu," said Heuerman. "We're really trying to do a quad with Malik (Zaire) but I don't know if that is going to happen."

As for the things he'll miss once he leaves home the often excitable Heuerman stopped before getting serious.

"I would definitely say just missing my brothers and my dad as I've had them with me for life," said Heuerman. "To know that I'm gone and not able to really live in the same house again will be hard. But it's one of the decisions I've made."

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