From Hillsdale College to combine star

Jared Veldheer runs a drill at the combine on Saturday. (Ben Liebenberg /

INDIANAPOLIS — Two years ago, it was Pierre Garcon out of Division III Mount Union College. Last year, it was Johnny Knox out of D-II Abilene Christian. This year, could Jared Veldheer from D-II Hillsdale College be the next small-school standout to turn a sensational NFL Scouting Combine performance into a promising career?

Veldheer was one of the most impressive offensive linemen prospects to work out Saturday. He was a top performer in just about every category, and he measured in at 6-foot-8 and 312 pounds with 33-inch arms.

At the very least, Veldheer has one prominent NFL team executive on his side. Browns general manager Tom Heckert also attended Hillsdale and admitted that he had a soft spot for the mammoth offensive lineman.

“I’ve talked to his parents, actually, about the whole process,” Heckert said. “It’s an exciting time for the school. He’s a big-time player, and it’s exciting.”

Heckert said he believes Veldheer will become the first drafted player from Hillsdale since 1980. What better place for that process to start for Veldheer than the same stadium where Hillsdale’s most famous football alum, recently retired Colts offensive consultant Howard Mudd, plied his trade.

Jason Feller

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