Heimuli to Follow BYU’s Bruising Backs

TBS Managing Editor
Posted Jul 7, 2008


Over the past few years, BYU’s offense has possessed big, bruising ball carriers in Fui Vakapuna, Manase Tonga and Harvey Unga. Recent commits Peni Maka’afi and Anthony Heimuli look to fill the void when those players have left the program.

The power in the Cougar offensive backfield will remain alive and well in the future. Mountain View’s Anthony Heimuli, a big powerful fullback with speed, looks to bring back the Heimuli name to BYU and eventually fill the shoes of BYU’s current backs after they leave Coach Mendenhall’s program.

“I love to hit,” said Heimuli. “That’s how I would describe my style of play. I just love to hit people and consider myself a bruiser. I’m 5’11” and 225 pounds right now and run a 4.6 forty. I do play both ways and not only play running back but outside linebacker too. I just love to hit people.”

As a running back, Heimuli doesn’t consider himself to be a finesse runner. Rather, he compares his game to someone BYU fans are very familiar with: Fui Vakapuna.

“I’m not really a slashing-type back,” he said. “I just love to hit and run over people. When I get the ball I really don’t think too much about it. I just run and look for a hole to go through, but sometimes I have to run over people. Yeah, I pretty much just like to hit and run.

“I think one of the reasons why BYU offered me a scholarship is because of the type of running backs they already have down there. I guess they like those big type of running backs that like to hit. When I committed to them they were really excited. I really didn’t know how excited they were until I went down there. I spoke to Coach Reynolds and they were really excited about me becoming a Cougar. When I talked with Coach Reynolds he pretty much told me that they really like how physical I am. He liked how tough I was on the field. That’s what he told me.”

BYU fans can pretty much understand Heimuli’s disposition on the field. He likes to hit and makes no apologies for doing so. On the defensive side of the ball, his hitting mentality doesn’t change.

“It’s pretty much the same [on defense]; I like to hit,” said Heimuli with a slight laugh.

“The coaches like to line me up on the outside as a pass rushing defensive end. Our coach likes to bring us linebackers up, so basically it’s like a defensive end position from there. I pretty much just cover my area, or he just blitzes me from the outside all the time. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Mountain View High School coaches run a similar defense to that of BYU and NFL teams such as the Chargers, Cowboys, Steelers and Patriots, among others.

“We run a 3-4 defense, but with the outside linebackers coming up it becomes a 4-3,” Heimuli said. “They bring us up a lot. Sometimes we’ll play a 4-3 defense and they’ll still bring us up. Our coach likes to bring us up a lot to blitz from the outside. It’s a lot of fun because I can use my speed to get around that corner.”

Although Heimuli has a linebacker’s mentality, his future lies on the other side of the ball.

“I like playing linebacker, but I want to play fullback at BYU,” said Heimuli. “Playing running back is something I grew up doing. I’ve played running back ever since I was eight years old. It’s just something I’m comfortable with. I spoke to Coach Anae at the All-Poly Camp and he asked me if I came to BYU would I play running back or fullback. I told him I would play any position if I could come to BYU.”

The Heimuli name has a long tradition at BYU and goes back to the days when Hema and Lakei Heimuli ran roughshod over opponents at Cougar Stadium. Anthony Heimuli is a first cousin of another LDS Cougar recruit in Latu Heimuli, who is considered one of the top defensive linemen in the country. Anthony is also a first cousin of sophomore tight end Ricky Heimuli, who could also be a top football prospect next year.

“Me and Ricky were staying together while we were going to the All-Poly Camp,” said Heimuli. “I didn’t know how good he was until I saw him play at the All-Poly Camp. Dang, I think he’s going to be a really good football player.

“With Latu, I don’t really know what’s going on with him. I haven’t talked to him in a while. From what I know he’s just trying to make a decision. I don’t know too much because it’s hard to get a hold of him. I hope with me coming to BYU that it will help him decide to come there as well. It’s not really my decision, but I really hope it affects him because I really want to play with my cousin.”

Heimuli is excited to bring his power running and punishing style of play to the Cougar program. Following high school he plans on leaving for two years to serve a mission.

“I wanted to go to BYU because I know I’ll have a chance to get a great education,” said Heimuli. “I also know that BYU is the best place for me as an LDS athlete because of the environment and the church aspect of the school. That’s why I wanted to go there, because I know it will help me become a better person as well as a football player. I’m going to serve a mission after high school, so having the chance to go to BYU is like no other. It’s just amazing over there and is perfect for LDS athletes like myself. The team is made up of mostly return missionaries that dominate in football, and that’s one reason why I wanted to go to BYU … to be a part of that.”


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