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Old Dominion's Taylor Heinicke 'hot name' with NFL scouts

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke has put up huge numbers for Old Dominion throughout his career.

Old Dominion senior quarterback Taylor Heinicke is on track to finish his career with more than 14,000 passing yards, 130 or so passing TDs and about 25 rushing touchdowns. Thus, it should be no surprise that NFL scouts have flocked to see Heinicke this season, despite a somewhat subpar campaign.

Heinicke (6-foot-1, 213 pounds) won the 2012 Walter Payton Award as the best player in the FCS ranks. He and the Monarchs are in their first season in the FBS ranks this fall, and his numbers have dropped off a bit. Still, he has thrown for 1,815 yards (259.3 yards per game) and 18 touchdowns, and NFL scouts have made 35 visits to ODU this season. In addition, scouts have seen him on game days, with three showing up to see him throw for 430 yards and five touchdowns in a Sept. 20 win over Rice.

"He's a hot name," ODU quarterbacks coach Ron Whitcomb told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. "They see his mechanics; they see how well he moves in the pocket."

While Heinicke is not going to put up huge numbers this fall as a senior, "in many ways they're more impressive now because we're playing against much better competition," Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb told the Virginian-Pilot he has heard from 14 NFL scouts and officials of two postseason all-star games in the past two weeks.

"Some guys are worried about his size and his arm strength," offensive coordinator Brian Scott told the newspaper. "But the guys who like him, they really like him. You watch guys who struggle in the NFL and they're the guys who can't process information quickly.

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"Unless you can go through your receivers -- one, two, three, four at a time, very quickly -- you're not going to make it. And that's something Taylor does so well."

Heinicke has thrown for 13,298 yards in his career, with 120 TD passes and 31 interceptions. He also has rushed for 1,259 yards and 21 touchdowns. In 2012, when the won the Payton Award, he threw for 5,076 yards and 44 TDs, and also rushed for 11 scores.

But it's not all about stats for Heinicke, who is an engineering major from the Atlanta suburbs.

"You can talk about other intangibles, whether it's character or leadership, and Taylor has those intangibles," head coach Bobby Wilder told the Virginian-Pilot. "But what the scouts are looking for is decision making, the ability of a quarterback to process information quickly. And I've never seen anyone better at that than Taylor Heinicke."

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Wilder told the newspaper that NFL scouts "have evaluated every aspect of his life, from his family situation to how he deals with the media. And what I hear from them, they really like everything they see."

Heinicke could be involved in one of the best quarterback duels of the day when ODU plays at Western Kentucky in a Conference USA contest on Saturday. Western QB Brandon Doughty is second nationally in passing at 416.7 yards per game (to go with 19 TD passes), and given that neither team is all that proficient in stopping the pass, the potential exists for big numbers in the passing game.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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