BYU has a tradition of standout middle linebackers. Players such as Shay Muirbrook, Rob Morris, Cameron Jensen and Kelly Poppinga, among others, have helped build a strong middle linebacker tradition for the Cougar football program through the years.
For Pleasant Grove’s Austin Heder, 6 foot 3, 240 pounds, he’d like nothing better than to add his name to that tradition. Since as long as he was old enough to hold a thought in his head, he’s wanted to be a Cougar.
“It’s always been a dream,” he said about wanting to play for BYU. “I wouldn’t want to play football anywhere else. If BYU didn’t offer me and other schools did, then I probably wouldn’t be playing college football.”
With both of his parents having attended BYU, there was no other school Heder cheered for growing up. He’s true-blue in every sense of the word and will look to add his talents at middle linebacker, or mike linebacker as BYU calls the position, this coming season before leaving on an LDS mission.
“Austin Heder is a perfect fit for BYU because of who he is as a person and as a player,” said Pleasant Grove coach Dale Sampson. “I’m very excited for him and for his family since I know it’s something he’s always dreamed of, to have the chance to play for BYU. He’s the type of kid that will thrive in that environment and should see a lot of success there.”
Heder not only led his team in tackles his senior season, but led the entire state, according to his head coach. BYU coaches recognized his ability to provide such dominating play before he even began his junior season, with the hope that he’ll continue to progress and provide that same type of play at BYU.
“He’s a very, very smart kid and as instinctive as any kid I’ve coached,” said Sampson. “He has a real nose for the ball and just good football sense, which is why he’s been such a great player for us. He’s smart in both the classroom and on the football field. "He’ll fit in with what BYU does very well, I feel.”
See video interview below: