2011 Countdown: #54 Will Heininger

2011 Countdown: #54 Will Heininger

July 8, 2011
Will Heininger (#39) along with teammates Zac Ciullo (#61) and John Ferrara (#74)

Name: Will Heininger
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 267 lbs.
High school: Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI
Position: Defensive end/tackle
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #39
Last year: I did not rank Heininger due to the ACL injury he suffered prior to the season.  He recovered from the injury in time for Michigan’s last three games (all losses) and to make 3 tackles.

Heininger developed into a serviceable backup for Brandon Graham by 2009, which is why his ACL tear in the spring of 2010 must have been frustrating.  Heininger had been in line for a fair amount of playing time in 2010, and frankly, he probably would have beaten out Adam Patterson for minutes along the defensive line.  Unfortunately, his injury robbed him of most of his redshirt junior year, and now he’s back for one last hurrah.

Big #39 only has 13 career tackles, but that’s not bad for a former walk-on.  This past spring he played strongside end, but he also saw some time at the 3-tech defensive tackle position.  With the shortage of interior defensive linemen on the roster, there’s a very good chance that Heininger will see some time at the 3-tech during the season.  I don’t expect him to be much of a playmaker, but he does play with good technique and holds his ground pretty well against guys who are bigger than him.  He’s just a rotation player, but you need those guys sometimes.

Prediction: Utility backup defensive lineman

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