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SALT LAKE CITY - Representatives from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl made a stop in Utah on Tuesday to officially announce Salt Lake City Brighton defensive lineman Ricky Heimuli as a member of the West roster for the 2010 edition of the game. In front of his teammates and school peers, Heimuli accepted his selection and reiterated a desire to work hard and represent his school and state well.
The excitement of the occasion was evident as Heimuli was flanked by family and friends Tuesday morning and he sees it as an opportunity to compete against the nation's best.
"I just get to go out there and play against some of the best in the nation," commented Heimuli.
For the humble 280-pound lineman however, it's easy to keep things in perspective considering all the attention he has received during the past year.
"I just see it as going out to have fun doing what I love to do," he said. "I really don't know what to say, I'm speechless right now. I want to thank the school for supporting me. It's a great opportunity."
Heimuli has been playing organized football since he was eight, and comes from a bloodline of football players. In the state of Utah, the Heimuli name is practically synonymous with football these days, considering Heimuli's uncles both played collegiately and his cousin, Latu Heimuli, currently plays for Utah.
Recruiting has kept up a rigorous pace with 22 offers and counting now for Heimuli, his most recent offer coming in from the East Coast.
"The newest one is West Virginia," he said. "I'm starting to do my research on them. I've gotten a few calls from the coaches, and they seem pretty nice."
Of the 22 schools vying for Heimuli's services, the schools he seems to be hearing the most from these days are Washington, UCLA, USC, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
So with schools coming and going, has Heimuli gotten to a point where he is ready to narrow his list from 10 down to five?
According to Heimuli, things have changed since he eliminated schools in August, and now he has opened things back up.
"That top 10 stuff was just to kind of get everyone off my back," admitted Heimuli. "They kept on bugging me so I just threw out a few names, but everybody still has a chance - I'm still considering all schools."
Looking ahead, a decision for the Rivals100 lineman will most likely not come until Signing Day if things keep going the way they are.
Said Heimuli, "Right now I'm pretty sure I'm going to be dragging this out until February."
When pressed about where his coaches and teammates want to see him end up, Heimuli indicated one school in particular seems to be brought up more than any other.
"A lot of the (coaching) staff members are thinking I'm going to go and play for USC," he said. "But I told them I don't know yet."
For now, the focus for the highly sought-after lineman will be getting his team into the state playoffs. The Brighton Bengals will face off against cross-town rival Jordan High School Tuesday night in a playoff elimination game.
"We just need to go out and play how we usually play. We sometimes step down to their level, but we just need to stay on our level and that way we can win."