Tyler Heintz spent countless hours working in the hot sun on his family farm in Kenton, about 75 miles south of Toledo.
He worked out with his old high school team back home June 9, completing a series of 110-yard sprints with no issues. He lived a clean life, was in excellent physical condition, and was determined to earn playing time as a true freshman offensive lineman at Kent State this fall, according to his high school football coach Brent Fackler.
Fackler, like everyone else who knew Heintz, was extremely shocked and saddened to learn that he had died suddenly following a team workout with the Golden Flashes on the morning of June 13.
"Tyler had a physical, maybe two in the last two weeks. On Friday, with us here, he ran '14 110s,' which is not easy. We run the 110 (yards), then they have 45 seconds to rest, then they run another one for 14 minutes. That's quite a bit of running, and Tyler didn't show any problems there.
"It was my understanding that he did finish the workout at Kent, it was after stretching that he collapsed. It's just unbelievable. It's devastating."
Heintz reported to campus last weekend along with most of the rest of the team, and started summer classes and workouts on Monday. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound, 19-year old lineman was close to Fackler's sons, Mark and Brice, who played at Kent State, and was thrilled when the Flashes offered him a scholarship last year.
"When Tyler got that offer from Kent State he was like, I don't care if Kentucky offers me or Pitt offers me or whoever, I want to go to Kent State," said Fackler. "At his graduation party last week, that's all he talked about, 'I'm making the traveling team, I'm going to Clemson (for the 2017 season opener). The kid didn't back down from anything and worked his heart out. It's just a crazy thing."
Heintz was all about hard work, both on and off the field, according to Fackler.
"Great kid, great family, a farm family. You can see where he got his work ethic from. Mom and dad are just unbelievable workers," he said. "Tyler was their oldest boy (2 sisters and a brother). He was going to go to school and come back and run the family farm."
No one enjoyed preparing for football more than Heintz at Kenton.
"We had morning lifting for all of his years here starting in March at 6 a.m. He lived quite a distance away, but a lot of times he was at his truck sitting there in the parking lot waiting for me to open the door. He was always the first guy here," the coach said. "(He was a) tremendous worker for us, always a guy that pushed himself. When he was younger he was a bigger kid, of course he wasn't as agile as what he would become, all because of the hard work he put in."