By Kent Larsen
'Fearless' LDS Football Player Heap Chosen in First Round
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Arizona State tight end Todd Heap was chosen in the
first round of the NFL draft this past weekend by the Superbowl champion
Baltimore Ravens, giving Heap exactly what he wanted -- a chance to play on
a winning team. "Who wouldn't want to be here?" Heap said at a news
conference after he arrived at the Raven's complex in Owings Mills,
Maryland. "I've been playing for ASU for the last two years and .500 ball is
not my style. I want to win."
Heap decided after the end of the last season that he would turn pro early,
following his junior year at Arizona State. In his three years there, Heap
set school tight end records in three seasons instead of the usual four,
catching 115 passes for 1,685 yards, scoring 10 touchdowns and earning the
nickname "The Golden Retriever" from the school's coaching staff.
Baltimore is ecstatic to have Heap, and the team's vice president of player
personnel, Ozzie Newsome, says that Heap has more potential than any other
tight end available, "For 10 years since I've retired, I've been chasing a
tight end," said Newsome, a former Hall of Fame tight end with the Cleveland
Browns. "I think I got pretty good one on the team right now in Shannon
Sharpe. But over the 10 years I have evaluated tight ends, I think he meets
all the different attributes that you look for."
In addition to playing well, Heap is notable for his fearlessness. Most
coaches expect a tight end to run across the middle of the playing field and
take a hit, but Heap goes farther, cliff diving from 75 feet into Arizona's
Box Canyon and Lake Gordon. "I'm not too scared of most things," said Heap,
who is also a snowboard and wakeboard enthusiast. "When you cliff-dive, your
stomach turns upside down just like when they hit you. I think that's fun
And Heap is also not afraid of tackling hard decisions and their
consequences. Like other Mormons in pro sports, Heap put off going on a
mission to pursue a football career, despite pressure from family and fellow
LDS Church members. "It's a personal decision," Heap says. "There's always
pressure, but it came down to what was best for me." Leaving ASU early was
also a difficult decision. "It was hard when it came down to it," Heap said.
"Either side is unknown. You don't what's going to happen if you stay or if
you come out. But I think it's a good decision now."
Tight end Heap will take licking, keep on picking
Baltimore MD Sun 23Apr01 S2
By Jamison Hensley: Sun Staff
LDS Tight End Will Turn Pro Early, May Be Selected in First Round
Heap makes football his mission
LDS Football All-American Joins ASU Basketball Team