Before the NFL Draft kicks off this Thursday night (Live from NYC's Radio City Music Hall at 8 PM on ESPN), Gatorade ran some of the league's top prospects through a series of tests at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Athletes had their VO2 max and anaerobic capacity tested on a stationary bike and a treadmill, their reaction timed gauged with a Dynavision test, and their body composition measured in the Bod Pod. Just one more day of poking and prodding, moving them closer to their new careers. And once the league's owners and players negotiate and agree upon a new CBA, teams will even be able to sign them to real contracts.
We grabbed some time with a few players — first up is former Buckeye defensive lineman and projected first round pick Cameron Heyward. We asked him about his diet, his training, and the best piece of advice he's been given about the NFL Draft so far.
You were a college kid last year and now you're going into the NFL. How has your diet changed?
As you approach the next level, you're always looking for a way to better your craft and be on top of your game, and the way I can do that is by taking care of my body. In college, you don't really care about what you eat, you're just looking to eat. Now, I'm looking for healthier ways to consume calories. My mom makes broccoli casserole that's delicious. She's always got some sort of greens in our dinners and is always trying to make sure that we're healthy. The best kind of meal is a home-cooked meal.
Where have you been training since the end of last season?
It was a tough process for me, because I had surgery on my elbow right after the season and I wasn't able to participate in the Senior Bowl or the Combine. That hurt a lot, because these are the moments that you're waiting for all four years. That was tough for me. I worked out in Arizona at API pre-combine, and it benefited me so much, having some of the best trainers around. Even if I couldn't fully bench, they were working on ways to help get my strength back and just continue to improve.
There are lots of ex-Buckeyes in the league. Do you keep in contact with any of them? What's it like in the Buckeye weight room.
I've talked to James Laurinaitis, Michael Jenkins, Kurt Coleman, Doug Worthington, all these great guys that were great fellow Buckeyes. You have to be a student of the game. You have to go in with a level head and be humble and approach it as an opportunity. The strength program at Ohio State is very competitive, very challenging. Over the past four years I've consistently gotten stronger, and I've matured in the weight room. It's hard to get me out of there. And I may be a weight room guy, but I'm more of a film guy. I love my film. The mental side is very underrated. I can't stand people falling asleep in meetings. It's a little bit of a pet peeve. I'll wake you up if I see you sleeping.
What are your max numbers in the squat and bench?
My bench was around 385, 395 lbs and my squats were at 500 lbs.
I'm sure you're tired of getting asked about your father (former NFL player Craig "Ironhead" Heyward). He had his legacy and you're going to have your own legacy. What kind of career do you want for yourself?
The great thing about coming in as a rookie is I've got a clean slate. I've had a great four years as Ohio State, but it's time to start all over. Going into this next process, I have high hopes and high dreams. I want to be the rookie of the year. I want to be able to say that I was the MVP as a defensive player. I want to win Super Bowls.
Looking back on your college career, what are your most memorable moments?
First and foremost, going 4-0 against Michigan. They're always our biggest rival and they're always going to give us their best shot. I think next to winning the Sugar Bowl as a senior, finally getting that win against an SEC team. The year before, we won in the Rose Bowl against Oregon who had never been stopped before. They were putting up almost 60 points a game. I'm a big defensive guy, and our defense played lights out in all of those games.
Whoever drafts you won't be able to contact you until after the draft. What's your plan until then?
I'm going to stay in NYC for the weekend. Monday I'm headed back to Columbus. I'm still taking classes through June since we're on the quarter system. I'll just continue to train on campus and get ready.