Former FIU punter loses over 100 pounds with sights now set for the NFL – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports


MIAMI (WSVN) – A former Florida International University punter is hoping to get paid to play after going through a drastic change in his eating habits.

Tommy Heatherly was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, given each season to the top punter in all of college football, and earned first-team All-Conference USA honors with FIU.

At his pro day, Heatherly was determined to show NFL scouts and coaches that he has a big booming leg and the discipline to come through under big-time pressure.

“I’ve always had aspirations for the NFL and I’ve definitely put in the most work out of anybody that I can think of if I’m being honest,” said Heatherly.

It was not an easy road for Heatherly.

In his senior year of high school, he weighed 170 pounds. A year later, Heatherly was a walk-on and earned a scholarship to Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College.

After his first semester in Oklahoma, Heatherly weighed 317 pounds. He still has the 42-inch jeans he once wore.

“I got complacent and I got comfortable and I thought I was the man,” said Heatherly. “I’m in college playing football, so I gained a lot of weight. Grocery shopping for me was McDonald’s and Pizza Hut so [it] was not a good look for a kicker.”

Former FIU football coach Butch Davis was recruiting in Oklahoma and he heard about Heatherly, the top punter in all of junior college football averaging nearly 43 yards a punt.

According to Heatherly, before meeting with Davis, his junior college coach told him, “‘Listen, man, you can punt and kick D1 but you don’t look D1, you look like a slob,’ is what I was told.”

“I think he knew how much talent that he had,” said Davis. “If you sit down and said ‘Hey, look you got to get into yoga, you got to lose some weight, you got to get upper body strength,’ anything that he had that he was struggling with, you know, he took it.”

Butch ended up offering Heatherly his only Division I scholarship.

Weighing 280 pounds, Heatherly soon began working out with FIU’s Strength and Conditioning coach Andrew Swasey.

“He went through a big transformation and I told him ‘We might as well go on the Biggest Losers to see if we can make a couple bucks on him,’ because of what he did and his transformation,” said Swasey.

Last season with FIU, Heatherly weighed 210 pounds and averaged nearly 47 yards a punt, ranked eighth-best in all of Division I football.

A lot has changed for Heatherly from where he once was.

“I feel it when I kick. I feel it when I walk. I mean, I feel it when I sleep,” said Heatherly. “It does play a role in, you know, feel good, play good, look good.”

Heatherly said that if he even thinks about breaking his clean eating habits, he pulls out those 42-inch jeans as a reminder.

Heatherly is working out for the Miami Dolphins on Friday. Several other NFL teams have contacted him as well.

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