Taylor Heinicke Named VaSID Rookie of the Year
By ODU Athletics
May 31, 2012
NORFOLK, Va. -- Quarterback Taylor Heinicke (Atlanta, Ga.) has been named the 2011-12 Virginia Rookie of the Year as selected by the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association (VaSID). Additionally defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron (Westbury, N.Y.), linebacker Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.), and punter Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) were named First Team All-State by the organization.
The runner-up for the Jerry Rice Award by The Sports Network and the College Football Performance Awards FCS National Performer of the Year, Heinicke took over quarterback duties for the Monarchs in the second half of ODU's week five game with #20 UMass and went on to finish out the 2011 campaign completing 211 of his 307 passes with 25 touchdowns and just one interception, a hail mary pass at the end of ODU's contest with CAA Champion Towson. Heinicke was also named to the Sports Journal All-Freshman Team, a Third-Team All-CAA honoree, three-time CAA Rookie of the Week, and two-time National Freshman of the Week by The Sports Network.
In playoff action, the true freshman signal caller set school records with five touchdown passes in games against both Norfolk State and #3/2 Georgia Southern and averaged 307.5 yards passing in the post-season.
Although Heinicke's name did not appear in the conference or national stats having not played in the minimum 75% of games played to qualify, if his name were to appear, his 265 passing yards per game would have ranked 18th nationally, his 160.2 pass efficiency rating would place him fifth nationally, and his 305.3 yards of total offense per contest would put his name 10th nationally.
Cameron, who was a Second Team All-State honoree as a junior, has become the most decorated Monarch since the program restarted in 2009. Cameron's success was both on and off the field having earned CAA Defensive Player of the Year, CAA Football Student-Athlete of the Year, and All-America honors from seven different publications in as a senior in 2011.
A First Team All-CAA honoree, Cameron ranked second on the Monarch squad with 73 tackles (28 solo, 45 assisted) along with a team-leading 17 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He averaged 5.6 tackles per game, which was fourth among defensive lineman in the CAA and finished second in the league in tackles for loss averaging 1.31 per contest. He also captured a career-high 11 tackles along with a season-best 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against CAA Champion Towson and made 10 stops with three for loss against James Madison.
Cameron signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears in April.
Wilkins was a First Team All-CAA selection and was also named First Team All-State by The Roanoke Times. A Monarch co-captain, he collected 111 tackles (58 solo, 38 assisted), including 14.5 tackles for loss to lead the Monarch defense. He averaged 8.5 tackles per game, ranking him 12th in the league.
Wilkins became the first Monarch to record over 100 tackles in a season and posted double figure stops in four games including a career-high 17 tackles against Hampton. He also made 13 tackles against Towson and 11 tackles against #10 James Madison and Richmond. Wilkins also added 3.5 sacks, a pair of interceptions, three pass break-ups, five defended passes, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble on the 2011 season. The Monarch linebacker also blocked a James Madison field goal as time expired to preserve ODU's 23-20 win over the Dukes and the Monarchs' first win over a top-10 program.
Plisco adds to his long list of accolades having already earned nine All-America honors in his three-year career with Old Dominion.
A First Team All-American by Beyond College Sports Network, Plisco earned Second Team All-America honors from College Sports Madness, The Sports Network, the Associated Press, and Phil Steele and was named an All-American by College Sports Journal as he ranked second in the nation in punting. Averaging 46.2 yards per punt, 20 of Plisco's 51 punts went the distance of 50 yards or more and 12 were placed inside the opponent 20.