With only a half hour separating Mount Dora High School’s Brett Heggie from Orlando, the University of Central Florida had its sights set on him from the beginning of his junior year.
Heggie, the nation’s No. 6 center, visited UCF several times as a recruit and had the Knights as one of his finalists. But last summer, he decided on the Florida Gators and planned to commit to them in late July at Friday Night Lights, their annual recruiting showcase.
Prior to the event, UCF offensive line coach Allen Mogridge called Heggie in hopes of talking him out of the trip.
“He really didn’t want me to take that visit. He told me not to go to Florida,” Heggie said. “He knew what time it was. I had recently told him I was down to Florida and UCF, and he had a feeling I would commit on my next visit.”
Mogridge’s hunch proved true. Heggie visited UF with his family in town and pulled the trigger at Friday Night Lights.
“Going into the camp, I knew I was going to commit,” he said. “I was nervous when I got on the field, but I went through with it. Then I called coach Mo and told him I made my decision to go to Florida.
“He was like, ‘I knew they were going to get you when you went up there.’ He kept trying months after I committed to flip me, but nothing could change my mind. I definitely made the right choice. Florida is a great place with a great coaching staff.”
The following is a Q&A with Heggie in the fifth edition of our Florida recruiting rewind series.
Q: If you could give a junior ONLY one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
A: “As I approached the recruiting process, I took my time with everything. So when I made my decision, I knew it was the right one. So just take your time and don’t make any subtle decisions that you might regret. You don’t want to back out of a commitment and have to look around again.”
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
“My finalists were Miami, UCF, Florida, West Virginia, Mississippi State and South Carolina. I’d say UCF because I had a phenomenal relationship with the coaches there. Either them or South Carolina. There wasn’t much they could have done, though. When I sat with (offensive line) coach (Mike) Summers on one of my visits, I knew he was the coach I wanted to play for.”
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
A: “UCF sent me 100 letters in the mail one day. Each letter had a reason to go to UCF, so there were 100 reasons. I thought that was pretty creative.”
Q: What was the biggest rumor about you that wasn’t true?
A: “I never put out too much information. I named my top six schools and that’s really all anybody could speculate about.”
Q: What’s the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process?
A: “I really didn’t have any secrets. When I wanted to do something, whether it was go on a visit or make an announcement, I just did it. I was never a guy that tried to keep things a secret. When I was ready to commit, I didn’t waste any time with it.”
Q: What is the funniest thing any HEAD coach said to you during the entire recruiting process, either on phone or in person?
A: “I visited UCF on like a Thursday and they had a game that Saturday. Coach (George) O’Leary told me, ‘Next time I see you, I want a commitment from you.’ I was like, ‘Coach, I’ll be back in two days and that’s not going to happen.’ I was nowhere near a decision.”
Q: What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
A: “I did all the camps and tried to get my name out there as much as possible. It all worked out for me, so I don’t have any regrets. I approached it well and did what I had to do.”
Q: Describe the impact of cost of attendance on your recruiting?
A: “Honestly, I didn’t even know Florida’s cost of attendance. When I went on my official visit a couple of the players told me, but it was whatever with me. Free money is free money, but they take care of us pretty well already.”
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
A: “Kentucky. It was one of those things where they were like, ‘Next time we talk, we’re offering you a scholarship.’ Then we never talked again and they kind of fell off. At the time I was 16 years old and I’m thinking my first SEC offer is about to come. So that was disappointing. Now even if they did, it wouldn’t have made a difference in the end.”
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
A: “Maybe Nebraska. I just liked them since I was a kid because my grandpa did. I grew up watching them. They would have been a finalist, but it was far from home so it wouldn’t have happened.”
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
A: “To allow official visits earlier. I think those visits are too late. Maybe I feel that way because I was committed for so many months, but I would have wanted to go places my junior year.”