They missed the opportunity for a Hutchinson reunion. Kansas senior Ben Heeney was here at Big 12 media days on Monday, representing the home-state Jayhawks. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom was here one day later, sitting next to a long, stretched out banner that featured his name and face.
Heeney and Grissom were high school teammates once. Now they’re opponents and sort-of rivals, both playing linebacker in the Big 12. But here in Dallas, Heeney and Grissom were a rare sight — two players from the same Hutchinson program.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Ben,” Grissom said. “He was one of the younger guys, and one of the guys I was able to take under my wing in high school.”
Grissom, a redshirt senior and one year older than Heeney, stiff-armed the in-state schools after a sterling career at Hutchinson. He now enters his final season after a breakout performance in a victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Grissom sacked Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron twice in a 45-31 upset. The Sooners rolled. And they carried the momentum through the offseason, earning favorite status in the Big 12 preseason media poll.
Heeney, of course, begins the season on the other end of the spectrum, trying to help Kansas emerge from the Big 12 cellar. And Grissom wishes his old teammate well — unless it’s against Oklahoma.
“We were able to play on a great team together at Hutchinson High School,” and Ben is just an outstanding guy, outstanding character and a great football player.”