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Heyward proves he’s ready, back in business

Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor

Nerves woke up Cameron Heyward at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Heyward said representatives from about 25 NFL teams showed up to see if the defensive end could be as effective in his workouts after undergoing Tommy John surgery Jan. 12.

“This is the best I’ve ever felt,” he said. “I felt great out there. My elbow felt totally fine, and I hope every coach got to see that.”

The senior tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in the second quarter of the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4. Although he finished the game, the injury to Heyward’s elbow led to his decision to undergo Tommy John surgery a week later.

In his workouts, Heyward said he ran a 4.96, a 4.40 and a 7.40 in the 40-yard dash, short shuttle and the L-drill, respectively. He also jumped 35 inches in his vertical leap, but he said he “wasn’t happy” with his 8-foot-10-inch broad jump.

“(The injury) helped me be more thankful, take advantage of the opportunities and focus on my weaknesses I had to work on and pay attention to,” he said. “I think I had pretty good times overall. I’m pretty happy about them.”

Though he performed well during his Pro Day, Heyward answered the looming question about the timetable for a full recovery. He said he would be 100 percent ready for NFL mini-camps if they began right after the NFL draft in late April.

“You can look at my elbow now; it’s fine,” he said. “You can look at my body of work, and I’ve constantly gotten better. I think I have matured in this last year both physically and mentally, and I think I have really understood the game.”

Heyward, a four-year starter at Ohio State, is projected to be a late first-round selection in the draft. Heyward’s greatest asset as a pro-prospect is his versatility on the defensive line.

“I think over my four years here I have enjoyed so many different positions,” Heyward said, “and it’s made me more versatile.”

OSU coach Jim Tressel said Heyward is just as valuable for his leadership skills.

Heyward said he does not have a preference of which team takes him but that he thinks he should be a first-round pick.

“I think I can play any position you put me at,” he said.

Heyward has not received a call to go to New York for the NFL draft, but he said it is unlikely that he would attend because there is a limit on the amount of people an athlete can invite.

“I would rather be at home where I can invite all my friends and family,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen everyone together since my graduation.”

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