Pine-Richland linebacker Max Heckert gets green light to commit to Slippery Rock

Sunday, January 22, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Max Heckert got a look at the rings in the Slippery Rock trophy case during his visit to the school and it reminded him of what he accomplished at Pine-Richland, winning two WPIAL and state championships in four years.

That was just one of the similarities between his high school team and Slippery Rock.

It wasn’t just that they have the same colors.

That’s a bonus.

He sensed an atmosphere that could allow him to thrive and ultimately found his home for the next four years.

Heckert committed to Slippery Rock on Jan. 12. He chose The Rock over several other offers from PSAC schools and an FCS offer from Marist. He made the commitment during his visit.

“It just gave me that home vibe,” Heckert said. “It’s only 45 minutes away, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity in front of me,” Heckert said. “They gave me the best offer that I could take. Between the staff and all the players there, it’s an unbelievable opportunity.”

Heckert originally told his dad that he wasn’t going to commit prior to going on his visit because he had some other visits scheduled, but that quickly changed once he got on campus.

He was there with several other WPIAL players, including Freeport’s Ben Lane, who he had played against when he was younger.

After talking with the coaches, he knew his mind was made up.

“I first talked with linebackers coach/defensive coordinator Coach (Domenick) Razzano and had an unbelievable conversation with him,” Hecker said. “Then I went into a waiting room in the coach’s offices. There were six total guys there that day and two already pulled the trigger on their commitment, Ben Lane and a transfer from Marshall University. So, when my dad and I went into to talk with (head) coach (Sean) Lutz, he told me I was the next one that could help us win a championship. We saved you for last because you’re special.”

Heckert had a standout senior season with the Rams, earning all-state and all-conference honors. He set a new Pine-Richland single-season record for tackles.

Heckert is the latest Pine-Richland football player to commit to playing in college. He joins Brady Carrigan (Walsh) and Jake Beam (Sacred Heart). Ryan Palmieri, the PIAA Class 5A player of the year, is likely next on the list of seniors to commit.

Heckert doesn’t have his major set in stone, but he is leaning towards entering Slippery Rock’s five-year master’s program for business.

With the close proximity of Slippery Rock to Pine-Richland, Heckert plans to continue to keep a close eye on the Rams next year and will have the opportunity to watch his younger brother Sam play on Friday nights.

“Hopefully with Coach (Jon) LeDonne and his whole staff coming back, (Pine-Richland) can win states again next year,” Heckert said. “We have leaders like Ryan Cory, Sam and Evan Johnson that have played big roles. I’m looking forward to watching them.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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