During a seven-on-seven drill, 75 percent accuracy by the quarterback is considered outstanding.
Troy Weatherhead did better than that during his senior season at Hillsdale, compiling a marksmanship record better than anybody who’s ever played college football, regardless of level of competition.
Weatherhead completed 76.9 percent of passes this past season, with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, to help Hillsdale reach the second round of the Division II playoffs. After strong performances at the Cactus Bowl — Division II’s all-star game — and two pro-day workouts, Weatherhead figures to earn a shot in the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
“It’s always been my dream (to play in the NFL),” Weatherhead told Packer Report recently. “Coming out of high school, you’d see a couple guys from Division II get a chance to play in the NFL, but obviously when I chose Division II, I knew it was going to be an uphill climb.”
A defining day for Weatherhead came last month at Michigan State’s pro day. Throwing in front of 31 of 32 NFL teams, Weatherhead estimated he completed somewhere around 52 or 55 of his 60 passing attempts.
“I was really happy with the deep balls that I was throwing, the fade routes, the post-corners, the 15-yard dig with a seven-step drop,” he said. “The ball was coming out of my hand really crisp and I was putting it on the money. I think that takes care of the arm-strength thing — there were questions about that and I think I took care of some of those doubts right there.”
Weatherhead grew up watching the likes of Troy Aikman and Brett Favre, admiring those legends’ toughness and late-game heroics. One player he really admires is Joe Montana, who is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history despite not being the most athletic or strongest-armed passer in the game.
Weatherhead, obviously, isn’t Montana. But, like Montana, whatever Weatherhead lacks in arm strength, size (6-foot-2 1/2) and athletic ability, he makes up for in decision-making and accuracy.
He is also an outstanding leader. Even though he was a late addition to the Cactus Bowl roster, he was named a team captain. He also was the best quarterback on the field, completing 15-of-24 passes and leading his team to its only touchdown.
Weatherhead, who directed a pro-style offense at Hillsdale, has been working out with former Hillsdale teammate Jared Veldheer twice a day. Veldheer, a third-round pick last year, emerged as Oakland’s starting left tackle and appears to be a fixture on its offensive line.
The Packers were one of the few teams to watch Weatherhead at Division II Grand Valley State’s pro day and again at Michigan State. With his record-setting accuracy, he’d make sense to challenge incumbent Graham Harrell as their third quarterback.
“A lot of that comes down to football being a team sport, and the 10 guys around me, they’re all making plays and the linemen are giving me time,” Weatherhead said. “A lot of it is I kind of rededicated myself to the film room last year. Going into games, I was really particular on what the DBs were doing, how the linebackers were moving with the safeties behind them. Just going into games and being really comfortable with the package that my head coach (Keith Otterbein) put together, and then being confident that I knew where the ball was going a lot of the time.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.