May 26, 2024

The least surprising news from the 2024 signing class is Todd Hartley, the Georgia tight ends coach, securing commitments from two impressive tight ends. Hartley has gained recognition as a positional expert, evident in Georgia’s recent on-field success with players like Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington. As the latest recruiting class is finalized, Hartley’s tight end group once again stands out for its depth and talent.

SEC and ACC after Florida four-star TE Colton Heinrich, 15 visits ahead -  Rivals.com

Dawgs247 recently interviewed Colton Heinrich, a tight end signee from Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.), who is one of the two tight ends Georgia recruited in the 2024 cycle, along with Jaden Reddell. Heinrich, having participated in Georgia practices leading up to the bowl game, expressed the significance of donning a Bulldogs jersey on the Orange Bowl sidelines, particularly as a south Florida native.

As an early enrollee for Georgia, Heinrich is set to be in Athens full-time starting next week. The following Q&A provides insights into his recruitment, playing style, relationship with his position coach, camaraderie with teammates, and more. Let’s delve into the conversation.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST INTERACTION WITH GEORGIA?

My initial interaction with Georgia took place during a 7-on-7 practice. Coach Ryan Williams, who was a quarterback assistant and the player connection coordinator, attended to observe one of our quarterbacks. This occurred at the beginning of my junior year or towards the end of my sophomore year. I found Ryan to be a great guy with positive energy, and we’ve maintained a good friendship whenever I visit. However, things didn’t progress further until the recruiting process gained momentum again.

WHEN DID EVERYTHING START TO PICK BACK UP?

My recruitment gained significant traction in January and February. Kentucky extended my first major SEC offer during this time, and things really took off unexpectedly. I started receiving numerous offers, with Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State all entering the picture within a week of each other.

WHAT STOOD OUT ABOUT GEORGIA INITIALLY?

When Coach Hartley reached out to me, the fact that Georgia had secured back-to-back national championships and boasted the best tight end in recent history immediately caught my attention. After visiting the campus once or twice, I sensed that choosing Georgia was a real possibility. My admiration grew for Coach Hartley, Coach Smart, and the entire staff, and by my second visit, I was certain that Georgia was the right fit for me.

HOW DID YOU COMMIT TO GEORGIA COACHES?

During my official visit, I found myself in Coach Smart’s office – a moment when many players make their commitments. I tried to signal my mom without directly saying anything, but I couldn’t get her attention until I was already in Coach Smart’s office. While there, Coach Hartley inquired about what it would take for me to become a Dawg. I expressed that I had everything I needed and that I truly wanted to be a part of the Georgia team. Coach Hartley’s reaction was incredible – he was jumping, hugging, and high-fiving me. Without delay, he went to inform Coach Smart about my decision.

WHAT’S THE MAGIC OF TODD HARTLEY?

From the beginning, as I got to know him, it was evident how full of energy he is and how deeply he loves the game. He initially started as a lower assistant during his time at the school, consistently putting in hard work. One of his notable strengths is motivating people to bring out their best, regardless of who they are. He has a relentless drive to push both others and himself. I remember him mentioning that he constantly seeks new challenges to push players like Brock every day. His mind is extraordinary, and his level of intensity is unparalleled. When you walk into a room, you can feel his presence, and it’s truly inspiring.

WHAT SEPARATED GEORGIA?

Throughout the entire recruitment process, a large whiteboard in our front room played a crucial role in analyzing and evaluating various aspects of the schools we considered. Whenever we reviewed the information, Georgia consistently met all the criteria. To date, we’ve visited Georgia almost eight or nine times. There was a strong instinctual feeling that it was the right choice; it felt like home. And now, I can confidently refer to it as my home.

IF NOT GEORGIA, WHO?

I had organized four official visits to Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and UNC. If I had to choose, I’d likely lean towards Alabama, especially due to the influence of Coach [Joe] Cox.

WHAT’S THE BOND WITH JADEN REDDELL LIKE?

Jaden and I have developed a strong bond through the numerous visits we’ve shared. He’s an exceptional receiver, possessing both size and skill, making him effective not just in catching but also in blocking. I believe I bring similar qualities to the table. Together, I anticipate that our collaboration will be highly productive. Coach Hartley shares this sentiment, acknowledging the potential of a formidable partnership if both of us are on the field—it could be a potent combination.

WHAT’S YOUR ATHLETIC BACKGROUND?

Football came as my second passion; basketball held the primary spot in my heart. I was practically raised in a gym since my mom served as a college coach for Nova Southeastern. My early years were spent in a playpen situated behind a basketball bench. The gym environment has been a constant in my life, and it’s what I’ve always known. I ventured into football at the age of 5 and never looked back. Interestingly, my football style influences how I approach the game on the basketball court. Down low, I’m a force, playing positions four and five. I contribute on defense, secure rebounds, and make my presence felt in the paint—I’ve become a bit of an enforcer down there.

WHAT’S YOUR GAME LIKE AS A TIGHT END?

Currently, I operate within an Air Raid offense, a system that thrives on spreading the ball across multiple receivers. Our team boasted eight receivers with double-digit catches this season. The question often arises about managing satisfaction and targets among such a deep pool of receivers at Georgia. However, for me, this scenario is familiar and quite normal. As an Air Raid tight end, this offensive style has significantly enhanced my receiving skills. I’ve become adept at finding openings in defenses, especially when facing strategies with eight or nine defenders focused on stopping the pass.

Despite the typical Air Raid emphasis on passing, my coach has done an excellent job incorporating me as a traditional tight end in the run game. This is a departure from the typical Air Raid approach. Special plays like H-back counters and adjusting blocking schemes have been introduced, drawing on my basketball instincts to navigate through opponents without hesitation.

Coach Hartley recognizes my versatility, envisioning me as a tight end who can contribute in the run game while also being a threat as a receiver, capable of getting open in open spaces when flexed out. Our discussions often revolve around maximizing my effectiveness in open space, aligning with my strengths in that aspect of the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *