Bluegrass Behemoth: Trinity C John Michael Heile
Posted May 17, 2011 11:14 pm
Photo courtesy of FCAA-Future College Athlete Association
FinestPreps.com ventures into the Bluegrass state today, where Dan Picca is taking a look at a mountain of a man.
Who’s the behemoth he’s excited about who already has an offer from Columbia University?
Check below for Dan Picca’s report on a gifted class of 2012 offensive lineman.
“I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players.” – Knute Rockne
It was the first time John Michael Heile would play center for Trinity High School for Boys (Louisville, KY). The starting varsity guard for the four-time defending state champions was six games into his sophomore year when he was told he would be playing center in a JV match-up against the school’s most hated rival, St. Xavier.
That’s how much the two schools detest each other. That’s how much the two schools want to beat each other. The teams would battle tooth-and-nail. Back-and-forth. Into overtime where Trinity would prevail by a single point.
All during that Monday game, Heile would go against defensive tackle Lucas Tutwiler. A can’t miss D1 prospect. The two grew up together. Went to grade school together. They were pals. Afterwards, they joked about the war in the trenches and wondered what it would be like later that week when they would be pitted against each other in the the much-ballyhooed varsity match-up. One in which NFL Films would tape a feature on one of the nation’s most anticipated showdowns.
The very next day at Trinity’s practice, the Shamrocks’ star center Jessie Schmidt severely twisted his ankle. That weekend, the varsity would play St. Xavier at Papa John’s Stadium. It is one of the most heavily attended high school tilts in the nation, averaging nearly 40,000 fans per game. John Michael Heile, with one junior varsity game of experience under his belt as a center, would switch over from offensive guard.
On the opening kickoff in front of that mammoth, rowdy crowd, a violent head-to-head collision left one of the St. Xavier players injured on the ground. He was motionless. It was serious. The ambulance came out on to the field. The young man’s neck was stabilized in a halo. It was Lucas Tutwiler.
The hushed gathering watched the talented 1oth grader being carted off. Fans were crying and openly emotional. John Michael Heile was obviously upset. But he refocused. Started his first varsity game at center and played flawlessly. St. Xavier would win the game in convincing fashion.
Heile would visit his fallen friend in the hospital the very next morning. A dislocated vertebrae. Lucas Tutwiler would never play football again. And while he made a full recovery and is now doing track for St. Xavier, his gridiron dreams were over.
That week in the Trinity weight room, Heile uncharacteristically walked up to injured center Schmidt. He told him, “Jessie, you aren’t starting at center.”
Schmidt replied, “I know. I’m injured. I’ll be back in two weeks.”
Heile rebutted, “No, I mean you’re never starting again. I don’t plan to give up the position.”
And he didn’t. Despite getting a scholarship to Purdue (Big Ten), Jessie Schmidt would never play meaningful minutes for Trinity High School again. He would appear only in rare mop-up duty. He is the long-snapper for the Boilermakers now.
John Michael Heile would start the remaining nine games for the Shamrocks. He excelled at the center position. One of only three sophomores to start on Trinity’s offensive line over the past decade. A highly complicated offense that runs 80% of its plays out of the shotgun. The team won seven of the last eight 6A titles, only to be beaten by St. Xavier for the championship that year.
In the locker room after that title game, tears were flowing. Senior offensive tackle Dylan Cupper grabbed Heile by the collar and told him, “Remember this feeling. Don’t ever let it happen again. Promise me!”
Heile wouldn’t forget. He would train like a teen possessed that off-season. His weight room exploits started as a freshman. In a competition whereby 9th graders had to hold 45-pound plates, Heile would dominate. He would never give up. Legs shaking. Face turning beet red. He set the standard for teammates even as a freshman.
“We knew we had something special even then. I knew my team would battle for me till the end. I knew they would never quit!” then-freshman football coach Mike Wagner proclaimed.
Wagner was right. John Michael Heile would start all sixteen games for Trinity as a junior. Such a student of the game that he called all the audibles, making it easier for the school’s sophomore signalcaller to focus. Heile would be named All-State (one of only two junior offensive linemen to earn the honor). Lead the Shamrocks to one-loss season and another state crown. Two blow-out victories over St. Xavier by a combined 83-7 score and a dismembering of Male HS in the championship game.
“I remembered the feeling at the end of my sophomore year. I didn’t want to experience it again.” Heile stated.
John Michael Heile is a gentle giant off the field. He shaves his curly locks because he looks more like a muscle-bound choir boy with them. The bald head is far more intimidating. On the field, he loves to dominate. 6’3″, 275 pounds of twisted southern steel. In a state known for its thoroughbred horses, Heile is more of a runaway road grader. He’s the Secretariat of Smashmouth. He flattens foes. Part of his All-Catholic League wrestling background.
Heile knows the challenges that await him his senior year. Scout.com mentioned Trinity as one of four schools from nontraditional football states that could contend for a national crown. MaxPreps has the Shamrocks in their Top 15. National experts rate the school’s schedule as the second-hardest in the nation. And rightfully so. Matchups against Ohio powers Elder, Cincinnati St. Xavier and mighty Moeller High School. Head-to-head battles against elite Tennessee programs Brentwood and Montgomery Bell. In-state challenges vs. Male and of course, St. Xavier again.
“I don’t expect it to be easy. Nothing worth achieving ever is. That’s why my team and I are preparing like never before.” said Heile.
Up at 5A.M. One-on-one personal training sessions with Eric Voss, one of the best in the business. Working on perfecting speed and strength techniques. Full day of school in one of the most rigorous Catholic institutions in the nation, where he holds a most impressive 3.8 GPA. More intense training with the team after school for hours. Then home for a lengthy session of study and homework to maintain that lofty academic standing. Well into the night. Long, grueling days not intended for the weak of spirit. Set alarm clock for 5AM. Repeat. Physical tools only take you so far without intense preparation. Cultivate the mind as you develop the body. It’s how champions are manufactured.
Trinity does their captain selection in a unique manner. They choose them after the season is over. Based more on on-the-field achievement than pre-season popularity. John Micheal Heile’s coaches gushed over him at the annual banquet this Winter as he received his plaque.
“I am flattered by the honor. But last season is history. Anything less than a repeat as a senior will be disappointing. That is the expectation year in and year out at Trinity. I want my actions to speak louder than my awards.”
One of the highest rated interior lineman in the prestigious Future College Athlete Association (FCAA) rankings, there is little doubt John Michael Heile will be playing major college football. The scholastic offerings of a university will be the primary factor in his eventual decision. He knows from first-hand experience that football won’t last forever. Which is why it came as no surprise that John Michael’s first offer came from Columbia of the Ivy League.
Kentucky may be known more for basketball centers than football centers, but gridiron powers at the next level are taking notice of the accomplishments and boundless potential of John Michael Heile. He’s a different kind of Louisville Slugger. He’s a true Bluegrass Behemoth who will be a hit in whatever academic and athletic venue awaits him.
Dan Picca is a contributing writer for FinestPreps.com. He’s also the Chief Editor of FCAA–Future College Athlete Association! You can read more of his articles at: http://www.allaccessportsnetwork.com
Check out John Michael Heile’s junior highlight tape below!