Todd Heap had great hands (Photo: ASU)
At Mountain View High School in Mesa, Todd Heap was a two-sport star, excelling in basketball and football. On the gridiron, he set set several school receiving records en route to becoming the 5A Player of the Year and an All-American performer. With several offers in hand, Heap chose to stay home and become a Sun Devil.
At 6'5", 242 pounds, Heap presented a match-up nightmare for opposing linebackers and safeties. Yet as a true freshman, he started slowly. Over the first eight games, Heap had just two catches for 12 yards, but one was a fabulous one-handed 15-yard touchdown against Washington. But Heap broke out during the last three games, grabbing 10 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns, two against Arizona.
That momentum set the stage for the greatest season a Sun Devil tight end has ever had.
He started off modestly, catching 10 balls for 186 yards in the first four games, before his breakout game on one of the biggest stages in the game. In South Bend against Notre Dame, Heap made eight receptions for 100 yards. Like his freshman year, Heap ended the season strong. He had seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown against USC, seven for 97 against Stanford and then a phenomenal seven catches for a career-best 170 yards and a score against Arizona (he also had this monster stiff arm that Rafell Jones still feels). He finished the season with school tight end records in catches (55, since surpassed by Zach Miller's 56 in 2004) and receiving yards (832) and was named to the All-Pac-10 first team.
As a junior in 2000, Heap was again a first team All-Pac-10 performer. He topped 60 yards receiving four times and five receptions five times. Although his season totals fell to 48 catches for 644 yards, he was named a second team All-American by the AP.
For his career, Heap shattered the previous records for receptions and receiving yards, both held by Ken Dyer. Heaps mark of 1,685 yards still stand, while his mark of 115 catches was since surpassed by ASU's other great tight end, Zach Miller.
With such an impressive resume, "The Golden Retriever", as nicknamed by head coach Bruce Snyder, skipped his senior year and entered the NFL Draft, where he was a first round pick by Baltimore. After two Pro Bowl selections in 10 seasons, he came home once again, signing with the Arizona Cardinals last season.
See all the previous entries on House of Sparky's 100 day football countdown here.