Former All-State E-P defensive lineman and Northern Illinois University standout Jack Heflin has announced that he will transfer to the University of Iowa for his final season of college football.
Heflin’s parents both announced on Facebook Thursday morning he had been accepted at Iowa. Heflin entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on May 11. Last season he lead NIU in tackles for loss with 8½, sacks with three and forced fumbles with three. He has received multiple team and conference honors in his career with the Huskies.
In an interview on Thursday morning Heflin said he decided on Iowa on Monday night after going through an intense week of fielding calls from nearly 40 schools. “Once I entered the portal all the communication went through my Twitter account. My phone lit up like crazy.”
Heflin grew up a Hawkeye fan with his step-father being a season ticket holder. “They were interested in me and said they usually don’t pick up transfers.” The 6’4′, 317 pound defensive tackle played against the Hawkeyes in 2018 losing 33-7. He recently received his degree in Kinesiology from NIU and plans to enroll in a graduate program at Iowa.
Although new rules for entering the portal don’t require it, Heflin went to his coaches to tell them of his decision. “Out of respect I called the head coach and position coach and told them. I felt it was right for me to do this and they helped me out a lot in the process.” In fact Heflin said Defensive Line Coach Jordan Gigli called his counterpart at Iowa, Kelvin Bell, to put in a good word for Heflin. The red-shirt senior likened the situation to having a former girlfriend help you find a new girlfriend.
Heflin will join a team coming off a 10-3 season including a win in the Holiday Bowl. “They called me and asked why I wanted to go to Iowa? I told them it was where I wanted to be. They told me I could earn a spot there, so I said, let’s do it!”
The Prophetstown native said he was very impressed with Iowa’s strength and conditioning program and that they have a talent in developing small town kids and are looking for athletes that want to be a Hawkeye.
Continuing to develop his game is a high priority for the Honorable Mention All-American as he has his sights set on the NFL draft next spring. “I wanted to be in the Big 10 to see how good I am. I want to go against the big guys week-in and week-out.”
While Iowa was on his short list of preferred schools, Temple was a high consideration as well with his former head coach, Rod Carey, taking over that program last season. “I did a lot of contacting and talking with schools each day, but in the end it couldn’t have gone any better.”
The recruiting process was new to Heflin saying,”It was cool because I was never recruited out of high school.” He walked on at NIU and eventually earned a scholarship. “I had so many calls I didn’t have chance to get back to all the schools that showed interest.”
In moving into an elite football program the three year starter said, “I feel I will get a shot, the best man will win and play and I think I’m that guy.”