Columbia’s Brandon Heidecker won’t have anything to worry about his senior year.
His college plans are already made.
Heidecker, a 6-foot-6 tackle for the Raiders, has orally agreed to play football at the University of Toledo.
“The whole process was fun, but it went by really fast,” said Heidecker, who will major in engineering or forensic science. “I’m relieved to know where I’m going. I went out there four or five times and their coaching staff is like no other.
“I weighed all the pros and cons of the schools I visited and I couldn’t find too many cons about Toledo. I went with my heart. I know it’s where I want to go.”
Heidecker is relieved to have his college decision already made and wants to concentrate on helping the Raiders get back to the playoffs for a third straight season. Columbia has made the playoffs three of the last four years.
“It takes some pressure off, but I’m not going to be satisfied,” Heidecker said. “You only get one senior year of high school football in a lifetime and I want to make the best of it. I want to work for who I can be, instead of who I am now.”
Last season, Heidecker was part of a perfect 10-0 regular season and a second straight Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division championship. However, the Raiders were routed on their home field by Chippewa, 62-28, in a regional first-round matchup.
“It definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth, the taste is still in there from that loss,” Heidecker said. “It makes me — and it should make the whole team — hungry. We learned so much from that experience.
We know we’re better than we showed, but I think we kind of overlooked them.”
Columbia coach Jason Ward is excited about Heidecker’s future. As a sophomore, Ward started him at right tackle before switching him to left tackle and defensive tackle last season. Heidecker’s performance earned him the first Division I scholarship for a Columbia player, according to Ward.
“Brandon really came on strong in the second half of last season,” Ward said. “I’d say in the last six games, he became a dominant lineman and his play was above the line to say the least. What he did in those six games was enough to garner some serious interest.
“We don’t get too many Division I schools coming out to Columbia, but they’re starting to know who we are. We’re excited at Columbia to see one of our own play at a Division I college like Toledo. It’s a perfect fit for him.”
Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.