Almost four years ago to the day, Pat Narduzzi and Pitt were the first Power Five program to recognize the talent and extend an offer to a sophomore quarterback from Medina, Ohio.
That quarterback was Drew Allar, who later went on to become a five-star prospect and is currently the starting quarterback for Penn State.
Fast forward to 2024 and once again, Pitt has its eye on a quarterback prospect from Ohio. Last night, Archie Collins and Pitt extended an offer to 2025 three-star quarterback Mason Heintschel from Clay High School in Oregon, Ohio. Like they were with Allar, Pitt becomes the first Power Four offer for this talented prospect.
In 11 games this past season, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Heintschel amassed 3,080 yards and 33 total touchdowns.
Recruiting isn’t an exact science and it’s difficult to declare someone a can’t-miss prospect but after watching the film on Heintschel, it’s very hard to figure out why it took so long for him to receive his first major offer. He’s a strong-armed young quarterback who is able to make all types of throws and move fluidly in the pocket. He looks like an ideal fit in Kade Bell’s new offense.
— Mason Heintschel (@mason_heinch06) November 21, 2023
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke this morning with Heintschel and asked him whether he’s been surprised by the lack of Power Four offers and why that might be.
“I kind of felt the same way that you described. I’ve always been a guy that felt like I’ve, not to sound like full of myself but, I’ve kind of felt that I should have had some Power Five offers by now or at least Power Five interest,” said Heintschel. “It’s been good to have those offers from the MAC schools and I’ve always been able to build great relationships with them but for Pitt to be the first ones to finally pull the trigger and for me to receive my first Power Five offer, it’s just awesome. I’m so happy to have a program like Pitt be that interested in me and it’s a school that I definitely believe that I can perform at.
“My head coach, he’s been talking to me the past few weeks, and told me that he thought that things were really going to start picking up for me, especially at the Power Five level. My high school specifically is somewhat of a smaller school, especially for football. We really haven’t had guys go through our high school that were getting recruited at the college level. I think that’s definitely a bigger factor for this. So last night’s news is definitely big for me and for my high school in general.”
Heintschel told PSN that he received the news last night on the phone from Collins, who told him that Bell was “really high on him.” After talking about things such as the Pitt program, the location and just chopping it up, Collins gave him the news he’d been hoping to hear for a while.
“As you can imagine, I was ecstatic,” said Heintschel. “It’s always been my dream to have the opportunity to play at the highest level possible and for Pitt to be the first ones to give me that opportunity is definitely a dream come true.
“The first thing that stands out to me about Pitt is Kenny Pickett. He was taken in the first round a couple of years ago. He’s a great player and Pitt, year in and year out, has been able to produce NFL talent. I talked to coach Collins a bit more about the school and campus, which looks beautiful. I’m definitely looking forward to getting there in the spring for spring practices and their spring game.”
Heintschel had the phone call with Collins in the evening, right before he was leaving his house to play in his high school basketball game. As you can imagine, after receiving such big news, keeping his concentration was a bit of an issue Friday night.
“Definitely a little big at the beginning. It was just running through my mind especially at the beginning of the game and I was all amped up. My parents were there so I went up and told them, which was a great moment for me and my family.”
We wrapped things up as I asked Heintschel to describe his strengths as a quarterback, which could allow him to excel once he gets to college.
“Our offense here in high school, we’re very up-tempo,” said Heintschel. “My ability to improvise, move around in the pocket, get out of the pocket and my ability to make throws on the run. I definitely feel a big strength of mine is my ability to get away from defenders and make plays off-script.”
Heintschel holds other offers from Liberty, Kent State, Coastal Carolina, Bowling Green, Toledo and Akron. He told PSN that he’s been in contact with most of them about making a visit at some point, although nothing has been scheduled.