First-Round Book on ... Heyward

With NFL Scouting's detailed breakdowns, we present the players who are possibilities for the Green Bay Packers with the 32nd pick of the first round. Get to know Ohio State's Cameron Heyward, the fourth player in our series.

Cameron Heyward

Defensive end/tackle

Ohio State

No. 97

6-foot-5 1/8, 288 pounds

Suwanee, Georgia: Peachtree Ridge High School

The son of former National Football League great, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, the youngster is following his father's path to the professional ranks. Rather than banging heads with defensive linemen like his father was known to do, the son is the one chasing down ball carriers in the opposing backfields.

"Ironhead" was widely regarded as a nightmare for opposing defenses because he was often as big, and sometimes bigger, than the defenders who had to stop him, and had surprising quickness and agility.

One of the NFL's best "big man" running backs in the vein of Earl Campbell, Heyward, at 5-foot-11 and reportedly between 250 and 340 pounds (the latter is arguably more accurate) was a punishing runner who was a devastating blocker and good receiver.

In his 11 seasons in the NFL, Heyward amassed 4,301 rushing yards, 177 receptions for 1,559 yards, and 34 touchdowns. He played for the New Orleans Saints, who selected him 24th overall in the 1988 draft, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, and Indianapolis Colts during his career.

In November 1998, Heyward said that he had blurred vision in his right eye, and was diagnosed with a malignant bone cancer at the base of his skull that was pressing on the optic nerve. The tumor was reportedly a chordoma. After it was partially removed in a 12-hour operation, he underwent 40 rounds of radiation treatments and was later pronounced cancer-free. However, in 2005, the tumor recurred and he died on May 27, 2006 at the age of 39. Cameron honors his father by etching the words IRON and HEAD on his eye black.

Cameron started 46 of his final 47 games for the Buckeyes, appearing in 52 contests since forcing his way into the lineup during the sixth game of his true freshman campaign. While listed as a defensive end, he was utilized at all four positions on the defensive front wall. His 15 quarterback sacks tied linebacker A.J. Hawk for 11th on the school all-time record list, as his 37.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage places him tenth in OSU annals.

At Peachtree Ridge High School, Heyward received a four-star prospect rating from Rivals.com. That recruiting service ranked him as the seventh-best overall prospect in the state of Georgia and the 13th-best defensive tackle in the nation. Scout.com ranked him 15th overall in the state and 20th nationally at his position.

A scholar-athlete, Heyward was named the 2006 Georgia Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year, helping Peachtree Ridge capture the state championship that season. He produced 103 tackles with twelve quarterback sacks as a sophomore, adding two sacks with 48 stops as a junior before ending his prep career with 88 tackles and eleven sacks during his senior campaign. He graduated with a 3.2 grade point average.

Heavily pursued by Florida, Georgia and Louisiana State, Heyward instead signed his national letter of intent to attend Ohio State on Jan. 31, 2007, having been recruited by former Buckeyes defensive lineman and assistant coach Luke Fickell. In 2007, he played in a reserve role for the first five games, but he took over weak-side defensive end duties for the final eight contests, recording 10 stops for losses, 2.5 sacks and 33 tackles (21 solos) for OSU's national championship runner-up squad.

Coming off 2007 Freshman All-American honors, Heyward started all 13 games in 2008, rotating across the defensive line. He produced 36 tackles (13 solos) that included three sacks and 4.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, as OSU would go on to lose to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.

As a junior, Heyward garnered All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors. He started 12-of-13 contests, coming up with 46 tackles (21 solos) while finishing tied for eighth in the league with 6.5 sacks. He also posted ten stops for loss and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the Michigan clash.

Voted team captain as a senior, the Playboy All-American selection received All-Big Ten first-team accolades in 2010. He recorded a career-best 48 tackles (23 solos) that included three sacks, as his 13.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage tied for fifth in the league. He advanced a fumble recovery 9 yards vs. Ohio University and rumbled 80 yards with an interception vs. Miami.

Heyward closed out his career with a pair of assisted sacks and 3.5 stops for loss among his six tackles vs. Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. After the game, it was revealed that he played most of that contest with a hype-extended left elbow. Invited to play in the prestigious 2011 Senior Bowl, he had to decline, as he underwent surgery on Jan. 11 to repair damage from that injury.

Career notes


Cameron Heyward
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Heyward started 46-of-52 games at Ohio State, missing just one starting assignment in his final 46 appearances…Recorded 163 tackles (78 solos) with 15.0 sacks for minus 98 yards, 37.5 stops for losses totaling 150 yards and six quarterback pressures…Recovered two fumbles, including one in the end zone for a touchdown…Gained 80 yards on a pass theft and broke up five other throws…Also caused two fumbles…Heyward's 80-yard fumbled interception return vs. Miami in 2010 ranks as the seventh-longest return by a Buckeye in school annals and the longest run back by a defensive lineman…His 37.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage rank tenth in school annals, while his 13.0 stops in 2010 placed tied for 23rd on the Buckeyes season-record chart…Totaled 150 yards in losses on those tackles, the 13th-best career total by an OSU player…Tied A.J. Hawk (2002-05) for 11th place on the school all-time record list with 15.0 sacks…Amassed minus 98 yards from those sacks, tying John Kacherski (1988-91) for 15th on the school career-record chart.

2010 season

All-American selection by Playboy…The team captain added first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors…Lombardi Award semifinalist and Lott Trophy quarterfinalist…Was also named to the Nagurski and Hendricks Awards preseason watch lists…Recipient of the Bill Willis Award, given by the OSU coaches to the team's Outstanding Defensive Player…Started all thirteen games at strong-side defensive end, but underwent surgery on January 11th, 2011, to repair damage caused by a hyper-extended left elbow that he suffered a week earlier vs. Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl…Recorded a career-best 48 tackles (23 solos) that included three sacks for minus 25 yards and three quarterback pressures, as he tied for fifth in the conference with 13.0 stops for losses of 42 yards…His 13.0 stops rank 23rd on the school season-record list…Had a pass deflection, an interception and a fumble recovery.

2010 game analysis

Miami…Heyward delivered three tackles that included one stop behind the line of scrimmage in a 36-24 victory…On the Hurricanes' game-opening possession, the OSU defensive end leveled tailback Damien Berry for a 2-yard loss on a rushing attempt around left tackle…With Miami marching 70 yards on seven plays after the opening kickoff of the second half, Heyward picked off a Jacory Harris third-&-goal pass at the OSU 5 and returned it 80 yards, setting up a 13-yard touchdown run by Buckeyes QB Terrelle Pryor.

Illinois…The team captain made six tackles with 1.5 stops for loss…He assisted in sacking QB Nathan Scheelhaasse for a 4-yard loss at the Illini 10-yard line on the opponent's first series of the second quarter.

Purdue…Heyward registered five tackles…His only solo stop came when he sacked QB Sean Robinson at the OSU 47 on a fourth-&-11 snap late in the third quarter.

Iowa…The senior recorded just two solo tackles, but both came behind the line of scrimmage in a hard-fought 20-17 victory…Iowa was forced to punt early in the second quarter after Heyward pressured QB Ricky Stanzi on a third-&-5 incomplete toss, bringing out the Hawkeyes punt unit…Stanzi was later tackled for a 1-yard loss by Heyward after the QB caught his own deflected pass…With 1:10 left in the game, Stanzi was sacked for an 11-yard loss by the defensive lineman on a third-&-10 play, as OSU would then run out the clock to preserve the win.

Arkansas (Sugar Bowl)…Despite suffering a hyper-extended left elbow, Heyward closed out his career with two pressures, a pass deflection, a pair of assisted sacks, 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and six tackles (3 solos) in a 31-26 decision…QB Ryan Mallett had his fourth-&-1 pass attempt batted down by Heyward at the OSU 30 to start second quarter action…Knile Davis tried an end-around over the left side, only to see the OSU captain level him for a 3-yard loss on Arkansas' next possession…With 5:15 left in the first half, Heyward first brought Davis down for a 1-yard loss on a draw play and then assisted in sacking Mallett for a 9-yard loss on the next snap, as the QB fumbled the ball, but the Razorbacks recovered the errant ball at their own 23…On their final drive of the first half, Heyward's third-&-10 pressure on a Mallett incomplete pass forced Arkansas to settle for a 20-yard field goal before heading to the locker room…The senior killed a third quarter series when he tackled Joe Adams for no gain on a Mallett third-&-8 pass to bring out the Arkansas punt team…Heyward would hyper-extend his left elbow when hit from behind after a Razorbacks touchdown pass with 0:58 remaining in the third frame…He would still be on the field in the fourth quarter, assisting in sacking Mallett for a 7-yard loss early in that stanza.

Other Notable Performances…Did not record any statistics in the season opener vs. Marshall, but made a stop behind the line of scrimmage and advanced a fumble recovery 9 yards vs. Ohio University…Posted two hits vs. Eastern Michigan and three tackles with a stop for a 1-yard loss vs. Indiana…Registered four tackles with one stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. Wisconsin…Made two hits vs. Minnesota, followed by seven tackles, as he took tailback Evan Royster down for a 3-yard loss vs. Penn State…Credited with six tackles in a 37-7 defeat of Michigan in the regular season finale.

2009 season

The Lombardi Award nominee earned All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors…Was the recipient of the, Jack Stephenson Award, given by the coaching staff to the team's Outstanding Defensive Lineman…Saw action in thirteen games, starting all but the New Mexico State contest, as he recorded 46 tackles (21 solos) with 6.5 sacks for minus 43 yards, tying for eighth in the conference in that category…Registered ten stops for losses totaling 53 yards and posted a pair of QB pressures…also recovered a fumble…Had his right foot placed in a protective boot during August camp due to an ankle sprain.

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2009 game highlights

Southern California…Heyward delivered seven tackles (4 solos) and two stops behind the line of scrimmage in a tough 18-15 loss…On a mid second quarter drive, the junior first stuffed tailback Stefon Johnson for no gain and two plays later, he brought down tailback Joe McKnight for a 3-yard loss on another carry…USC was forced to punt in the third quarter after Heyward sacked QB Matt Barkley for minus 6 yards at the Trojans 6-yard line.

Toledo…The defensive end followed that performance with a 7-yard sack and two pressures while posting three tackles in a 38-0 shutout…Toledo went three-&-out on the game's opening series after Heyward pressured QB Aaron Opelt into throwing a third-&-5 incomplete pass…Opelt again tossed an incompletion as Heyward ended Toledo's next drive with another pressure…He later captured the quarterback for a 7-yard sack on third-&-8, forcing the opposition to punt at the end of the third frame.

Penn State…Heyward was named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and also earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors, as the junior recorded a game-high 11 tackles, including three for losses, and two quarterback sacks to help the Buckeyes defeat rival and 11th-ranked Penn State, 24-7…He led an Ohio State defensive unit that allowed just 201 yards of total offense.

Michigan…The junior had only two tackles, but both were for losses in a 21-10 triumph… Heyward set the tone for the day on the Wolverines' first possession, as he brought down Michael Shaw for a 2-yard loss on a run around left end and on a third-&-8 bootleg by QB Tate Forcier, the passer dropped the ball and Heyward scooped it up in the end zone for a touchdown.

Other Notable Performances…Opened the season with a five-tackle performance in a 31-27 decision over Navy…Had a solo hit vs. Illinois and was held to no tackles in the Indiana clash…Recorded a 6-yard sack of QB Scott Tolzien to go with five tackles vs. Wisconsin and came up with two solo tackles vs. Purdue…Made an assisted tackle in each of the Minnesota and New Mexico State games…Had four tackles (3 solos) vs. Iowa and a 9-yard sack vs. Oregon in the Rose Bowl.


Cameron Heyward — Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

2008 season

Heyward started all thirteen games as a sophomore, rotating on the strong-side between end and tackle…Registered 36 tackles (13 solos) with three sacks for minus 21 yards and one quarterback pressure…Tied for 21st in the Big Ten Conference with 4.5 stops for losses totaling 22 yards…Also caused a fumble and deflected a pass.

2008 game highlights

Had two solo tackles vs. Youngstown State in the season opener and three hits in the Troy clash…Held to no tackles in a 35-3 loss to Southern California and recorded just one stop in each of the Minnesota, Purdue and Texas (Fiesta Bowl) meetings…Registered a 5-yard sack and three tackles vs. Wisconsin…Added an 8-yard sack with three hits and caused a fumble vs. Northwestern…Followed with a season-best seven tackles and a pressure vs. Illinois…Made six tackles that included an 8-yard sack vs. Michigan in the regular season finale.

2007 season

Earned Freshman All-American honors from Rivals.com, Scout.com and The Sporting News…TSN also named Heyward to the Freshman All-Big Ten Conference squad…Saw action in every game, starting the final eight contests at weak-side defensive end…Made 33 tackles (21 solos) with 2.5 sacks for minus 9 yards, as his ten stops for losses of 33 yards ranked 21st in the league…Caused a fumble and deflected three passes.

2007 game highlights

Heyward recorded his first career sack (minus 7 yards) and posted three solo tackles in his second game for OSU, a 20-2 defeat of Akron…Posted 2.5 stops for losses of 8 yards and delivered three hits vs. Northwestern…Had a stop for a 9-yard loss among his pair of hits in the Minnesota contest, as he also caused a fumble…Delivered five tackles with a 2-yard sack vs. Penn State and made six tackles (3 solos) that included 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Illinois…Had another tackle for loss and three solo hits in a 14-3 win over Michigan…Posted another three tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage and deflected a pass vs. Louisiana State in the BCS Championship Game.

Injury report

2009 Season…Missed a potion of August camp after he suffered a right ankle sprain and was forced to wear a protective boot to enhance the healing process. 2010 Season…Underwent surgery on January 11th, 2011, to repair damage caused when he hyper-extended his left elbow after a third quarter Arkansas touchdown in the Sugar Bowl (1/04/11).

Campus agility tests

4.92 in the 40-yard dash…1.68 10-yard dash…2.85 20-yard dash…4.88 20-yard shuttle… 7.66 three-cone drill…26-inch vertical jump…8'7" broad jump…385-pound bench press… 510-pound squat.

High school

Attended Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Blair Armstrong as a defensive end/tackle and tight end…Received a four-star prospect rating from Rivals.com…That recruiting service ranked him as the seventh-best overall prospect in the state of Georgia and the 13th-best defensive tackle in the nation… Scout.com ranked him 15th overall in the state and 20th nationally at his position…A scholar-athlete, Heyward was named the 2006 Georgia Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year, helping Peachtree Ridge capture the state championship that season…Produced 103 tackles with twelve quarterback sacks as a sophomore, adding two sacks with 48 stops as a junior before ending his prep career with 88 tackles and eleven sacks during his senior campaign…Graduated with a 3.2 grade point average.

Personal

Human Development major…Son of former NFL running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward and Charlotte Heyward-Blackwell …In his eleven seasons in the NFL, Heyward amassed 4,301 rushing yards, 177 receptions for 1,559 yards, and 34 touchdowns. He played for the New Orleans Saints, who selected him 24th overall in the 1988 draft, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, and Indianapolis Colts during his career. In November 1998, Heyward said that he had blurred vision in his right eye, and was diagnosed with a malignant bone cancer at the base of his skull that was pressing on the optic nerve. The tumor was reportedly a chordoma. After it was partially removed in a 12-hour operation, he underwent 40 rounds of radiation treatments and was later pronounced cancer-free. How-ever, in 2005 the tumor recurred and he died on May 27, 2006 at the age of 39. Cameron honors his father by etching the words IRON and HEAD on his eye black…Cameron's stepfather, Cory Blackwell played football at Wisconsin…Born 5/06/89…Resides in Suwanee, Georgia.


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