College Football Recruit Passes Up Scholarship to Pursue Golf

February 3, 2016

Wednesday is National Signing Day, which means college football recruits from across the country will be faxing letters of intent to their schools of choice.

Matt Heuerman won’t need to fire up his fax machine. He’s probably got a tee time instead.

The 6-foot-6, 200-pound wide receiver from Florida’s Barron Collier High School had a scholarship offer from FCS powerhouse Jacksonville State but turned it down in favor of pursuing a career in golf, according to USA Today.

Heuerman comes from a football family: his brother Jeff plays in the NFL while his brother Mike played at Notre Dame. Matt, meanwhile, hasn’t played golf competitively since the eighth grade.

So why the drastic decision?

“I never got that offer from a big program that I couldn’t refuse,” Heuerman said.

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After his decision to switch to golf, he’s been working with Lloyd Johnson, a PGA pro at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, Fla. According to the report, Heuerman’s natural athletic ability has translated to the course and he can already hit his driver more than 315 yards.

“Things like hitting it that far off the tee are things I can’t teach,” Johnson said. “I could spend my life in the gym and never hit it that far. We’re in the early stages, but what he’s shown so far is exciting. He can do something special.”

After spending his high school career grabbing weekend rounds when he could and working on his short game while rehabbing from an ACL injury, Heuerman is now turning his full attention to golf. His next step is to grind it out on the range in search of a perfect technique.

“I feel that if I put in as many hours as I did into football, I’ll continue to improve and get one step better each day,” Heuerman said.

Heuerman has seen his two older brothers suffer a litany of injuries in their football careers (Jeff tore his ACL in Denver Broncos rookie camp this past May), but he says those concerns didn’t factor into his decision. Heuerman is looking past the next four years and looking forward to a future wearing polos instead of pads.

“It wasn’t really a fear of getting injured,” Heuerman said. “I know that comes with playing the game. But I know there’s a time limit on football. I can play golf as long as I want.”