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Written by: Billy Splain on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021
When you have a proud military family, it’s common for the younger generation of the family to admire those accomplishments and service. Quite often we at PAFootballNews.com see that trickle down in the football world as well. Eli Heidenreich is one such player. The 6-0, 185 pound athlete at Mt. Lebanon has several family members with military ties, and yesterday he followed suit. Heidenreich committed to the Naval Academy where he’ll be at Slot Back. “They run the triple option and that’s the motion back that gets a lot of pitches and runs some routes. They also call it the A-Back. They say, “A’s make plays.”
We asked him a little more about his commitment, here’s what he had to say:
PFN: Why did you choose to commit to the Naval Academy?
Eli: Three reasons: (1) To serve. To be apart of something bigger than myself. To be apart of the Brotherhood. (2) We have Navy heritage in my family. My grandfather was a Naval Officer and my Uncle was a Navy Corpsman with the 8th Marines. (3) It’s big-time football with an unbelievable tradition. Playing in the AAC against some legit competition. Playing Notre Dame. And of course Army-Navy games!
PFN: Who was your biggest influence there. , who recruited you?
Eli: Coach Yokitis. He’s the WR coach at Navy and recruits this area. He played at North Hills, so we talked a lot about WPIAL football.
PFN: What are they getting in player like you?
Eli: I’m a hard working player. I’m quiet. I want to put my head down, put in the work, and lead by example.
PFN: What was the recruiting process like for you? *
Eli: The end result was extremely rewarding. Navy was my top choice all along and I think it’s a great fit. But honestly, the recruiting process is a roller coaster. Kids just getting into it need to prepare for the ups and downs. Stay positive. Be persistent. You end up at the place where you belong.
PFN: Do you know what you’d like to study? *
Eli: Computer Science for sure, and then possibly branch off into something Cyber Security related.
PFN: What role did your parents play in your decision? *
Eli: My parents definitely advised me. We talked a lot about this opportunity and what it means to commit to the U.S. Naval Academy. But it was my decision. When we visited Annapolis, I knew it was a fit. The coaching staff is unbelievable and the campus is amazing.
PFN: What do you think is the most exciting thing about the program? *
Eli: The tradition. The brotherhood. To be part of something much bigger than myself.
PFN: What are you most looking forward to while playing for them? *
Eli: The Army-Navy games
PFN: Tell everyone out there in the football world something they’d never know about you until you told them: *
Eli: I can build computers from scratch. It’s a hobby of mine. I built my own computer and several others for my friends.
PFN: Who is the person who most influenced you in your football career? *
Eli: Coach Palko. I’m so glad he came to Mt. Lebanon three years ago. He’s built a culture where we play for each other. It’s team first. He taught us how to practice better and how to prepare. I’ve learned so much from him.
PFN: What is it you’d like all your high school teammates and fans to know about your decision that you might have a hard time saying in person? *
Eli: I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way. Teammates, coaches, family, and friends have all had a large role in getting me to the position I’m in today.
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