The senior defensive lineman isn't talking about 2009 first-team All-Big Ten selection Justin Boren, two-year starting center Michael Brewster or any of the several candidates to man the two tackle positions.
Heyward is talking about the line's most experienced player – three-time letter winner and 2009 All-Big Ten honorable mention Bryant Browning.
"I don't think he gets enough praise for what he does," Heyward said. "He's so academically sound, and sometimes that's what he's known for. But he gets it done off and on the field. He's a great role model for a lot of people, and he's a great leader for this team."
Browning's academic prowess is well known. A valedictorian at Cleveland Glenville before arriving at Ohio State in 2006, Browning is a three-time member of the CoSIDA academic all-district second team and a two-time Big Ten all-academic selection.
But Heyward knows firsthand that there is more to Browning than good grades.
"He's so consistent," Heyward said. "You don't see a lot of offensive linemen that consistent. He's a great leader and a great competitor."
Browning took a redshirt in 2006 before seeing playing time as a reserve and a special teams lineman in '07. As a sophomore, Browning earned a starting spot at right tackle, replacing All-American Kirk Barton. He eventually moved to his more natural guard position, where he has remained ever since. The 2009 season was Browning's best. He started every game at right guard and earned the Jim Parker lineman of the week award twice.
Naturally when asked the first thing that comes to mind when he thinks back to his Ohio State career, learning was the answer.
"I've basically just learned a lot, a lot from my coaches, from my teammates," Browning said.
Offensive line coach Jim Bollman is a man who has taught Browning a lot. The senior credited Bollman's laid-back coaching style for his steady development.
"There are some coaches that start screaming at you when you mess up, but he's more like a teacher," Browning said. "Sometimes he does yell, but he tries to show you what you did wrong. We watch film with him. If you get beat, he'll show you why. … He does a great job of breaking down film and going through things to make sure you learn from mistakes."
Like most of the Buckeyes, Browning has NFL aspirations. If that doesn't work out, however, Browning should be fine. He is scheduled to graduate with a degree in marketing in December.
"Maybe I'll just look for a job or go back to graduate school," Browning said of his possible post-OSU plans. "I might even try to go to law school or something."
But Browning isn't thinking about next year yet. He still has plenty of moments left as a Buckeye and more learning to do.
"We should have a pretty good offensive line this year," Browning said. "We've got a lot of talented guys, a lot of guys with playing experience. I feel like we should be able to get things together in camp and have a chance to be pretty good if we put in the work."