Orlando “Big Griz” Heggs Plays Mean
By Barry Every
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At 6-foot-4, 300-pounds Heggs is a member of one of the largest offensive fronts in the nation.
For the first time in 16 years, the two most storied football programs in Jacksonville will be playing each other. As a matter of fact Bolles and Trinity Christian Academy are set to play in District 4-5A. To add more drama to the impending matchup legendary coach Corky Rogers announced his retirement last month. Rogers led the Bulldogs to 10 State Championships.
Bolles did not go far naming longtime assistant Wayne Belger the next head coach. Belger must now lead the Bulldogs into a District that not only contains the Conquerors but Bishop Kenny, Terry Parker, Ponte Vedra and Westside. Ponte Vedra played in the FHSAA 5A State Championship game last year.
One player that Belger will be counting on is offensive lineman Orlando Heggs. At 6-foot-4, 300-pounds Heggs is a member of one of the largest offensive fronts in the nation. Teammate Nick Lewis is listed at 6-foot-8, 340-pounds.
“Our offensive line will be all seniors this year except for one junior; so we should be able to run the ball better this coming season,” Heggs said. “In order for us to win our new district and a State Title we will have to play physical all year long. I don’t expect a drop off with Coach Rogers’ retirement because Coach Belger is basically the same person with similar philosophies.”
Heggs transferred into Bolles just before his junior season, coming from Atlantic Coast where he started as a sophomore. It wasn’t his first transfer having started his varsity career as a freshman at Stanton Prep. Despite the moves Heggs has fit in nicely at Bolles picking up the nickname Big Griz.
Yeah they started calling me Yogi Bear, then Big Bear but Big Griz is the name that stuck,” Heggs said. They just said I was big and always had a smile.”
One look at the tape and you can tell Heggs is no Yogi the Bear. This guy is a pile driving road grader that likes to get nasty.
“He has worked really hard this offseason, losing almost 30-pounds,” Belger said. “It really paid off, him going out for wrestling for the first time. I can’t tell you how much this young man has improved from the time he got here; he is a hard worker and is always upbeat.”
On the recruiting front Heggs picked up early offers from Charlotte, Georgia State, Howard, Marshall, Mercer and Samford. He is also receiving heavy interest from FAU, FIU, Memphis and USF.
“Yeah I unofficially visited Mercer on February, 11 and then made Charlotte’s Junior Day later that month,’ Heggs said. “Next up I have a visit planned for Georgia State April, 15 and then I’ll decide on whether to go to Charlotte’s or FAU’s spring game April 22.
More offers are on the horizon with the spring evaluation period right around the corner. But one school really stands out to Heggs, even though he has not heard much from them, and that is UCF. He also plans on camping at Florida and FSU with some teammates in June. But a surprising trip could be on the horizon.
“Lewis has ten offers, but really wants one from Oregon,” Heggs said. “So we may head out there together for a camp in order to earn a Duck offer.”
Currently he has a 2.8 GPA and scored an 870 of the first take of the SAT. Heggs is scheduled to take the ACT for the first time on April, 8. He has set a goal of doing much better in order to increase visibility to colleges that require higher standards then the NCAA minimum.
Anything short of a State Championship is a major disappointment at Bolles. Now they have to contend with 4-time defending 3A State Champion Trinity Christian in their own district. Big Griz will be needed to anchor an experienced offensive line bound for glory in 2017.