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January 31, 2010Bruce Heggie still can't believe how it all came together.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end from Mount Dora, Fla., didn't hold a single Division I scholarship offer as of last week and wasn't sure where he would play college football.
Preferred walk-on spots from Florida, UCF and South Florida and a few looks at the Football Championship Subdivision level seemed Heggie's best bets.
Interest from Notre Dame running backs coach Tim Hinton and defensive line coach Mike Elston changed all that.
Elston reviewed Heggie's film and convinced him to take an official visit to South Bend without a scholarship offer. During the visit head coach Brian Kelly extended a scholarship offer and Heggie accepted on the spot, giving the Irish more along the defensive line.
"It feels great," said Heggie, whose father played defensive end and outside linebacker at Florida State. "Now I can focus on lifting weights and finishing school and preparing myself for the next level."
Heggie became the third commitment to join the Irish recruiting class out of Kelly's first major recruiting weekend. Three-star athlete Derek Roback and former Cincinnati verbal commitment Luke Massa, a quarterback, were the first two.
Notre Dame made quite an impression on Heggie, who played defensive end and tight end at Mount Dora High School this year.
Heggie didn't know a whole lot about Notre Dame before making the official visit aside from its storied history. But touring campus and checking out the football facilities while rubbing shoulders with current players, commits and other recruits made it impossible for Heggie to turn down a scholarship offer.
"It went really well," Heggie said. "(Kelly) just called me in his office and sat me and my family down and we talked. Then we got the offer.
"The (Golden) Dome's beautiful. The stadium's beautiful. I like the people a lot. Talking to coach Kelly was great."
Heggie spent most of his time talking with Elston, who stressed that he will take Heggie's talents and develop them the best he can.
Overall, Kelly's coaching staff impressed Heggie.
"It's good to have a very family-oriented coaching staff," Heggie said. "I feel more comfortable making the decision going there."