Oregon defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli, a senior from Brighton High School (Glendale, Utah), enters his fourth season in the Oregon program.
Before coming to Oregon, Havili-Heimuli had an incredible prep career that garnered him huge attention from major college programs. Havili-Heimuli received offers from BYU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State, USC, Utah, Washington and West Virginia among numerous others before eventually signing with the Ducks.
He earned Mainland All-Stars MVP in the 2009 Hawaii/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl and was listed as a unanimous 4-star recruit by Scout, Rivals and ESPN. Scout listed Havili-Heimuli as the No. 10 DT in the 2010 recruiting class, noting his strengths as his explosion, size and toughness. Rivals listed Heimuli as the No. 8 DT, No. 88 overall player in the country and second best player out of the state of Utah. ESPN listed him as the No. 13 DT, but went as far as to list him as the fourth best recruit in the Ducks’ loaded 2010 recruiting class.
Havili-Heimuli was one of the biggest (literally) recruits during the Chip Kelly era. Currently at 6’4″ and 305 lbs, Havili-Heimuli is tied with OT Everett Benyard as the heaviest player on the Oregon roster and one of only three players to top 300 lbs. Havili-Heimuli has possessed great size since the day he walked on to the Oregon campus and was ready to play from day one.
In 2010, Havili-Heimuli was one of only two players to play in all 13 games as a true freshman. He went on to finish the season with nine tackles (four unassisted, five assisted) and recorded one tackle for loss and one pass deflection. His batted down pass came in his collegiate debut against New Mexico.
Havili-Heimuli appeared in every one of the Ducks’ 2011 games as well, recording 22 tackles (11 unassisted, 11 assisted) and 0.5 tackles for loss. He worked behind starting left defensive tackle Isaac Remington and played in the nose tackle role as well. His top two performances came in a loss to USC, recording four tackles with three solo tackles, and a blowout win at Colorado when he again finished with another four tackles and a shared tackle for loss for a 1-yard loss.
However, his best season occurred in 2012 when he started four games for the Ducks at nose tackle, sharing time with fellow lineman Wade Keliikipi who missed a large portion of the season due to injury. Havili-Heimuli finished 2012 with 18 tackles (six unassisted, 12 assisted) and 1.5 tackles for loss with appearances in 12 of the team’s 13 games.
With Remington gone to graduation, Keliikipi and Havili-Heimuli won’t have to split time on the line any more. One will take over the defensive tackle role while the other will stay at nose tackle. It’s likely that Keliikipi will move over on the line and Havili-Heimuli will be the nose tackle starter in 2013.