July 8, 2011

Indy defensive end narrows list to three

Carmel defensive end Shawn Heffern has narrowed his list of finalists, with Purdue among the trio he's now looking at the most.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder - who is being recruited by some, including the Boilers, as a defensive end, but could grow into an offensive or defensive tackle - has picked out Purdue, Indiana and Michigan State as is finalists. The former two have offered, while the MSU, where Heffern will camp Monday, has yet to pull the trigger.

"Those are the three," said Heffern, who wants to make a decision by the end of the month. "A lot of other Big Ten schools are recruiting me and say they're close to offering, but those are the only three I'm really considering at this point. Things may change, but as of now, it's the three."

Heffern's decision might be made easier depending on what MSU does. He'll visit the Spartans in a couple days, and an offer could come soon afterwards. He says he hasn't talked to the Spartans in recent weeks, but they last indicated that a spot at D-end or tackle could be opening up.

"Right now, it's pretty wide open between those three," said Heffern, whose Carmel teammate, Jimmy Herman, committed to Purdue Wednesday. "But I'll see if Michigan State offers - if they offer, it's not like they'll be the leader or anything - but if they don't it will be IU and Purdue. I'll see who's a better fit and which would be better for me."

Heffern knows the Boilermakers well, having visited West Lafayette numerous times. He was here for a visit June 27, then back again for his Carmel basketball team's trip to the Purdue Shootout, which the Greyhounds won three days later.

"It was good," Heffern said of the first visit. "I got to sit down and talk to Coach (Gary) Emanuel again and Coach Hope, and got to meet the new strength coach. I didn't take a tour, because I had done that, but I had a good time.

"I got to talk to Coach Emanuel again during the Shootout."

Heffern, who has five offers as of now, has blown up over the last year. A former linebacker, he's now playing defensive end, and envisioning himself playing at about 250 pounds as a senior. It's left schools recruiting him at a variety of positions, including both spots on the D-line and offensive tackle.

"Purdue is recruiting me as a defensive end," he said. "Coach Emanuel really wants me there. I'd be amazed if I didn't play defensive end at Purdue. IU says they'd start me at defensive end and if I keep gaining weight move me to defensive tackle or offensive tackle. It just depends on how I grow into my body. Michigan State has said defensive end and maybe defensive tackle."

Carmel coach Kevin Wright says Heffern's athleticism belies his size.

"I think the sky is the limit," Wright said, "but he's got some potential on both sides of the football, just depending on how much he does grow, and what you're need is."

Notre Dame, as of now, appears to be out of the picture, even though Heffern is a legacy there. His dad, Shawn Heffern, is a former Fighting Irish offensive lineman. He says ND could move into his finalists, if it would offer.

"Potentially," he said. "But they're not really taking defensive ends in this class, so I don't see that happening. But it's not like in this whole process I've been heavily favoring Notre Dame. If they would offer, it wouldn't be a done deal. I would probably consider them."

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