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ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke among former Monarchs to sign NFL free-agent deals

odu logoFormer Old Dominion University football players Taylor Heinicke, Rick Lovato and Larry Pinkard signed NFL free agent contracts Saturday evening following the NFL Draft.

The three Monarchs signed with a trio of NFC North teams as Heinicke signed with the Minnesota Vikings, Lovato the Chicago Bears and Pinkard the Green Bay Packers

A four-year starter, Heinicke passed for 3,476 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2014 completing 289-of-457 passes. He also rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns.  He had three games where he passed for 300 yards or more, including 430 yards and five touchdowns in ODU’s win against Rice, a performance that earned him Conference USA Player of the Week.

For his career, Heinicke was 1,238-of-1,829 for 14,959 yards and 132 touchdowns while rushing for 1,320 yards and 22 touchdowns.  He finished his career sixth in Division in passing yards and touchdowns, and fourth in total offense. He is also one of just 20 Division I quarterbacks to pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000.

In 2012, Heinicke set FCS records with 5,076 passing yards and 398 completions, while tossing 44 touchdowns and rushing for 11 more.  He won the Walter Payton Award given to the Best Player in the FCS and led the Monarchs to the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Lovato was a four-year starter at long snapper for ODU, snapping for both punts and field goals/PAT’s during his career.  He earned FCS All-America honors in 2012 and received Conference USA honorable mention laurels in 2015.

Pinkard caught 160 passes for 2,338 yards and 25 touchdowns in his three-year ODU career.  In 2013, he led the Monarchs with 68 receptions for 1,020 yards and tied for the team-high with nine touchdowns.  He set his single-game high in 2013 with nine catches at Pittsburgh and notched a career-best 156 receiving yards in a win over Campbell.