UNIVERSITY CENTER – The Saginaw Valley State football team used halftime of its annual spring game on Saturday to celebrate the successful career of former Cardinal Jeff Heath, the current starting safety for the Dallas Cowboys.
SVSU coach Jim Collins and athletic director Mike Watson presented a plaque featuring photos of Heath as a Cardinal and a Cowboy to his parents, Mike and Dianne. That plaque will hang on the NFL Wall on campus.
“(Celebrating with them) was awesome,” Collins said. “They are really humble people and I think they are still very thankful and appreciative for the opportunity we gave Jeff coming out of high school.
“It was great seeing them and hearing stories.”
One of those stories included Heath living out every young man’s dream. Not the dream of playing in the NFL, but the dream of dating an actual Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
“Probably the neatest story that I heard was that Jeff is dating one of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders,” he said. “If you want to talk about accomplishments, that’s pretty big.”
With Heath in the NFL, he joins the likes of former Cardinals Rob Callaway, Todd Herremans, Ruvell Martin, and Glenn Martinez, among others, to have success as a professional.
Collins said Heath’s success is something he plans on selling to future recruits and to his current players.
“It’s great for the program, and it’s great exposure,” Collins said. “When you’re on Monday Night Football, and you hear (SVSU), you can tell recruits that if you come to Saginaw Valley, you have a chance to make it to the next level.
“I think you can use that within your own program by telling guys if you work like Jeff Heath worked, you can make it to that next level. It proves we do a pretty good job of developing players.”
As a rookie last season, Heath recorded 60 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception for the Cowboys. He started nine game after becoming a starter midway through the season.
He signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2013.