Thomas Heiberger Finds his place at Jefferson

Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week
Karl's TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 11:38 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Since he bears a bit of a resemblance to the quarterback from the “Remember the Titans” movie...

“Sunshine? Yeah!” Jefferson Senior Thomas Heiberger says. feels natural that Thomas Heiberger started playing football at that position.

“I remember the junior football days playing with my friends. Running bootlegs and all that cood stuff. Running for touchdowns and having fun.” Heiberger says.

As he began playing at Jefferson, Heiberger learned that he enjoyed chasing and hitting quarterbacks even more as a linebacker.

“”Defense is definitely a lot less stressful. Quarterback was something that I was always worrying about and getting into the playbook and things like that is definitely tough. At the end of the day you’re going for that ball and trying to get it back for your offense. I think that’s what I love about it soo much is there’s no really think, you just get to go play.” Heiberger says.

Thomas flourished as a junior in 2022 with 44 tackles, six sacks, an interception and forced fumble, helping lead the Cavaliers to the 11AAA state title.

“His sophomore year he was a good athlete playing football. And then last year he worked on his technique and his skill and he really turned himself into a great football player.” Jefferson Head Coach Vince Benedetto says.

Leading Thomas to call another audible when it came to his college plans.

“I always kind of expected to play baseball. Getting recruited for baseball in South Dakota is pretty tough with how the weather is. It’s just different then football. I had a football coach just come to the school and come see me and that’s when I started to realize this was something I could do at the next level.” Heiberger says.

Even then Heiberger would be blown away with the number of Division One offers he got, eventually verbally committing to the the University of Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin I just felt like was home to me. It was a good fit in every way. I love the staff, I love the players there, I love the players that I’m going to play with in my class, I love Madison as a college town.” Thomas says.

And now that he’s fully committed to his current role, the Big Ten and the Badgers may realize that Thomas has only just scratched the surface of what he can do.

“He’s only played two years of linebacker so there’s a lot of potential there. Obviously a lot of raw ability. Probably what makes Tommy so special is just his character and his work ethic. I think those are going to carry him through some adverse times when he gets to college. He’s going to be a redshirt freshman and some 6-7, 330 pound lineman is going to pancake him, but he’s going to keep working hard and get in after it and I think he’ll be successful because of that.” Benedetto says.