Hillsdale College Chargers
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Forest Hills Northern High School
If you look around the National Football League depth charts, most of the starting offensive linemen hail from the major college ranks. It is very rare to find a small college player to make an impact at the next level, especially a blocker. Most professional scouts feel that Veldheer could be that exception to the rule, basing that assessment on his career at Hillsdale, along with very impressive performances during practices prior to the Texas vs. the Nation Game.
The 2009 All-American selection and Super Three Region's top vote getter for the coveted Gene Upshaw Award (given to the top offensive lineman in the small college ranks) has exceptional quickness off the snap, along with the wingspan and hand punch to easily mirror and neutralize edge rushers. He used that Texas vs. The Nation as a stepping-stone, carrying over that showing with another eye-opening performance at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine.
One of the tallest offensive linemen to come out of the collegiate ranks in recent years, talent evaluators feel he has the potential to progress much like the Tennessee Titans' Michael Roos, a former All-American at Eastern Washington. With his size, teams feel he will have to adjust to playing right tackle after spending his collegiate career on the left side.
Veldheer was just the 11th offensive lineman in the 72-year history of Hillsdale football to earn All-American honors in 2009. The last blocker to receive national accolades was Kyle Wojciechowski, who earned that recognition in both 1995 and '96. He is expected to be selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, which would make him just the 13th Charger to ever hear his name called on draft day.
The earliest a Hillsdale player was selected in the draft was place-kicker Chester Marcol, going in the second round to the Green Bay Packers in 1972. The last Hillsdale offensive lineman drafted was Howard Mudd, by the San Francisco 49ers in the ninth round of the 1964 selection process. Mudd (Indianapolis) is one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the NFL. The last Charger to hear his name called on draft day was Nate Johnson, going in the seventh round of the 1980 draft to Pittsburgh.
Veldheer was an All-Conference offensive lineman during his senior year at Forest Hills Northern High School. That year, the team captain was also named the squad's Most Valuable Lineman. He also lettered twice in basketball, leading the team to a combined 34-10 record.
Veldheer followed his older brother, Aaron, to Hillsdale College. Aaron was a standout performer for the school's basketball team under former head coach Ed Douma. He took over left tackle chores in 2006, earning team Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. He collected 66 knockdowns for the season while clearing the way for tailback Phil Martin, who rushed for 1,014 yards.
As a sophomore, Veldheer earned All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Daktronics All-Region second team recognition. The team's Offensive Lineman of the Year gained lots of notice for his drive blocking, as Hillsdale again featured a 1,000-yard rusher. He registered 83 knockdowns that included nine touchdown-resulting blocks. Behind his protection, the Chargers set school records for most yards passing (314.00 ypg) and total offense (476.45 ypg), as the 5,241 yards generated ranked sixth nationally.
Veldheer earned Offensive Lineman of the Year again in 2008. He also elevated his All-GLIAC ranking to the first-team unit. He continued to excel at protecting the pocket, as the Chargers finished 20th in the nation in passing (273.91 ypg).
He collected 114 knockdowns to go with fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks, an impressive total considering that Hillsdale rushed for just eighteen scores.
As a senior, Veldheer became the eleventh Charger offensive lineman to receive All-American (first-team) honors and was again chosen the team's Offensive Lineman of the Year. The two-time GLIAC first-team pick delivered 98 knockdowns and a career-best sixteen touchdown-resulting blocks. Behind the left tackle, the ground game became the team's force, more than doubling their scoring output from the previous season (36 touchdowns in 2009 compared to 18 in 2008). **
CAREER NOTES **
Veldheer started all 46 games that he played in, lining up at the demanding left offensive tackle position…The three-time team Offensive Lineman of the Year and All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection became the 11th offensive lineman in the 72-year history of Hillsdale football to earn All-American honors in 2009 and the first since Kyle Wojciechowski earned that recognition in both 1995 and '96…In his last two season, Veldheer produced 216 knockdowns, 30 touchdown-resulting blocks, sixteen downfield blocks and an 85.5% grade for blocking consistency…In each of his four seasons, he blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher. **
2009 SEASON **
Veldheer earned All-American first-team All-American honors from The NFL Draft Report and American Football Coaches Association, adding second-team accolades from Daktronics…Was the Super Region III's top vote getter in the balloting for the Gene Upshaw Award, given to the top small college offensive line-man…Added Dakronics All-American and All- Region first-team honors…Three-time winner of the team's Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award and a three-time All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference choice (first-team in 2008 and '09, second-team in 2007)…Started all thirteen games at left tackle, leading a punishing ground attack that doubled its scoring output (36 touchdowns) from the previous season…Also provided stellar pass protection, giving up just two quarterback sacks on 442 pass plays, as the Chargers ranked 16th in the nation in passing (281.69 ypg) and scoring (35.46 ppg), while finishing 17th in total offense (432.69 ypg)…Registered 102 knockdowns with a career-high sixteen touchdown-resulting blocks…Added nine blocks downfield and also recorded a pair of solo tackles – one each vs. St. Joseph's and Northern Michigan…Graded 86.54% for blocking consistency, recording a mark of 90% or better in five contests…Served as team co-captain for the secondstraight year, leading the Chargers to a 10-3 record, as Hillsdale qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in the history of the program. **
2008 SEASON **
The team captain earned All-GLIA first-team and Daktronics All-Region second-team honors…Named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Year and earned GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week accolades vs. Indianapolis, registered fourteen knockdowns…Posted a total of 114 knockdowns and fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks, grading 84.27% for blocking consistency…Part of a unit that ranked 20th in the nation in passing (273.91 ypg). **
2007 SEASON **
Veldheer was named All—GLIAC second-team, receiving the first of three team Offensive Lineman of the Year accolades during his career…Added Dakrtonics All-Region second-team honors…Paved the way for a ground attack that featured a 1,000-yard runner, as the Chargers scored 26 times on the ground…His pass protection skills helped Hillsdale finish sixth in the nation with a school season-record 32 touchdowns and 3,454 yards, an average of 314.00 yards per game…The Chargers also ranked 12th nationally in total offense (476.45 ypg) and tenth in scoring (39.27 ppg)…Credited with 83 knockdowns and nine touchdown-resulting blocks while grading 84.12% for blocking consistency. **
2006 SEASON **
Veldheer was an instant success in fall camp, wresting the starting left tackle position…Named the team's Offensive Freshman of the Year...Provided huge rush lanes for tailback Phil Martin, who rushed for 1,014 yards, as the rookie posted 66 knockdowns and nine touchdown-resulting blocks for an offense that averaged 339.45 yards per game…Helped solidify an offensive line that ranked ninth in the nation in fewest quarterbacks sacks allowed (eleven) **
4.82 in the 40-yard dash…1.75 10-yard dash…2.84 20-yard dash…4.52 20-yard shuttle…7.56 three-cone drill…29 ¾-inch vertical jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times…415-pound bench press…425-pound hang clean.
Attended Forest Hills (Grand Rapids, Mich.) Northern High School, playing football for head coach Brent Myers…The team's Most Valuable Lineman added All-Conference honors during his senior year…Also lettered twice in basketball, leading the team to a combined 34-10 record. **
Business Management major…Older brother, Aaron, played basketball at Hillsdale College under former coach Ed Douma…Son of Mary and Jim Veldheer…Born 6/14/87...Resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan.