Career comes full circle for Heun (Football)

December 7, 2010

Anchorage’s Jake Heun had a bizarre beginning to his football career at the University of Hawaii.

On his first day on campus a bird pooped on his shoulder.

In his final regular-season game for the Warriors over the weekend, he returned the favor on the UNLV defense.

Heun, of Palmer High fame, scored his first career touchdown on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter during a 59-21 victory on Senior Day. It was his only carry of the game.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior has played linebacker most of his two seasons at Hawaii before moving to the backfield earlier this season. In fact, he has more tackles (7) than rushing yards (6).

It didn’t start out this way – or did it?

In 2008, Heun came to Hawaii as a running back as the first recruit by current head coach Greg McMackin.

But he never carried the ball. On the second day of training camp he suffered a herniated disc while lifting weights. When he returned in 2009 four out of five neurologists told him to retire.

Yet he refused to quit.

“I love football,” Heun told the Honlulu Star-Advertiser. “I wasn’t going to let some doctors tell me I couldn’t play football.”

He moved to defense and played linebacker, although he’s also been a valuable member of special teams.

Now he’s back at running back, bringing his career full circle.

“It was definitely worth it,” Heun told the newspaper. “I got my education taken care of. I got to meet some good guys, and we’ve played some good ball. I’m glad I can go out on top.”

He will play his final college game on Christmas Eve when Hawaii plays the University of Tulsa in the Aloha Bowl.

Heun will graduate in May with a bachelor’s in European Studies. After that he plans to ramp up his budding career in mixed martial arts after winning his debut fight last summer.

“I want to fight in cages and travel,” Heun said. “I want to fight people in every country.”

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