Max Heintzelman used to talk about going to college out of state. But he’s staying home, and on Wednesday, he made it official.
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound All-State offensive tackle, who played a major role in Bishop Hendricken winning back-to-back state football championships over the past two seasons, yesterday signed an official National Letter of Intent and announced that he has accepted a scholarship to play at Bryant University in Smithfield.
“We are excited to bring a player with his abilities and his leadership qualities to our program,” said Marty Fine, who is in eighth year as Bryant’s head coach and who has built the Bulldogs program into one of the best in the Northeast. “Max comes from a very strong program and he knows how to win.”
Heintzelman made his announcement inside the lobby of Ray Pepin Gymnasium during a ceremony that included family members, Bishop Hendricken officials, coaches and players. Heintzelman had also been recruited by URI, Holy Cross, Merrimack, Stonehill and Endicott.
“We are very proud not only of the athletic accomplishments that Max has achieved,” said Hendricken president John Jackson. “But also of the fact that he has become a fine Christian gentleman during his tenure at Bishop Hendricken. The main strength of our team was our running game, and Max anchored our fine offensive line all year. The Bishop Hendricken community wishes him well in his future career as a Bryant Bulldog student-athlete.”
Hendricken principal Jay Brennan also wished Heintzelman well and offered his personal congratulations following the ceremony that was coordinated by Dave Curtis, the Hawks’ director of communications.
Curtis offered an anecdote from Steve Salomone, a theology teacher who used to help moderate the chess club.
“He said one of his favorite memories of Max will be watching the reactions of the opponents he’d be playing during chess matches,” Curtis said. “Picture a smaller guy, sitting at the board ready to play, and he looks up and sees this Goliath walking over to play him. And here comes the big hand reaching across the table to say: ‘Good luck.’ Max might have looked intimidating, and he’s a powerful guy. But he’s also one of the kindest and most caring guys in our school. We’re happy to have him and we’re going to miss him when he moves on to Bryant.”
Heintzelman is indeed moving on to Bryant, much to the surprise of his mother Lisa, who is a Bryant graduate.
“I think it’s funny,” she said. “Max always talked about going far away to college – for baseball. I never dreamed he’d be going to Bryant for football.”
Carl Heintzelman, Max’s father who is an insurance executive and owns Insurance Brokerage Services in Warwick, also thought his son would follow in his footsteps and become a college baseball player.
Then along came football – and those gridiron scholarship offers began to surface. Carl, who pitched at the University of Vermont, knew that baseball would take a back seat to his son’s college football career.
“Naturally we’re very proud of Max,” Carl Heintzelman. “None of us would have thought that he would have excelled at football the way he has; especially having never played before in Pop Warner.”
But Heintzelman became a football star with the Hawks, and the rest is history.
“I’m really, really excited about going to Bryant University,” he told the crowd at the signing. “I really like the school, coaches and facilities.”
Heintzelman has twice landed first-team All-State football honors. He was also voted first-team all-division the past two seasons. He’s also an Honor Roll student and a member of the Italian and Chess Clubs. His personal interests are snowboarding, lifting weights, chess and languages.