The Prospector: Mount Dora's Bruce Heggie lives Notre Dame success story

Defensive line coach Mike Elston was the advance scout who set the stage for Heggie’s Notre Dame Dreamscape with an in-home visit.

“We had very little time to recruit … so what we did is we went out and looked for program guys,” remembered Kelly, who was hired by Notre Dame, Dec. 10, 2009. “We had a relationship with that high school [Mount Dora] with Tim Hinton, who was with me on my staff at Cincinnati. We brought Bruce up for a visit, we really liked his intangibles at the time. He wasn’t physically developed to the level he is today, but we really liked what he stood for.

“He was a sharp kid and one we thought would be a program kid, and it’s turned out that way. He’s now running third center for us, actually second right now with an injury to our starter, so he’s progressed nicely for us.  He’s a lot bigger (6-5, 280 pounds) physically, has developed very nicely.”

Hinton was the key, as Heggie Jr., said in a previous Sentinel article, Jan. 29, 2010.

"Coach Hinton was working with me and he really liked me when he was at Cincinnati, but then they crunched their numbers and they didn't have anything." Heggie said. "But when they made the transition over to Notre Dame, Coach Hinton made a point to bring my name up. He remembered me, remembered that they had liked my film and decided to give me a call."

Quite a change going from no college scholarship offers, to sitting in Brian Kelly’s office as the coach asks him to come play at Notre Dame.

“God is good. He helped me out on this one,” Heggie said Monday. “I’m happy where I’m at and I’m looking to grow even more here at Notre Dame.”

It wasn’t easy for Heggie at first, but he was always known for being a hard worker.

“I think just picking up the pace of the game [was difficult]. The Division I level is so much faster than the high school level and it’s a little bit more complex too, as far as the playbook and getting to know the other teams and scouting reports and things like that,” Heggie said. “So I would say it’s a mix between the knowledge of the game and the tempo.”

The 4.2 student at Mount Dora still had some early learning hurdles to straddle in the classroom, but that too began to sink in to a comfort level for Heggie, who says he’s finally feeling like a bona-fide member of the Notre Dame student body.

“In the classroom, going to Notre Dame, it’s not easy but they have a great support staff with tutors and things like that,” Heggie said. “It’s difficult, it’s challenging, but I feel like I’m getting the best education at Notre Dame.”

And don’t think there’s been any rivalry stuff going on in the Heggie household while Junior was home visiting earlier last week for the holidays.

“My dad, he played for Florida State, so it’s a great matchup. He said he’s going to wear gold and blue on Thursday, so he’ll be supporting me,” Bruce Jr. said. “I know my little brother grew up a Florida State fan, as well, so it’s just a great, fun, family thing.

With no jabs being tossed about.

“No trash talk from my dad. He’s the one guy I can always call up and he’s always there to support me. Same thing with my mom. They’re just happy where I’m at and what I’m doing here at Notre Dame, so they’re all going to be wearing No. 51, all Notre Dame on Thursday.”

 

Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com.

 
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