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In his youth football days in Bloomington, Travon Hearns was a red-striper, a designation given to players who are too big to carry the ball.
But Hearns had dreams of playing quarterback. So when he reached eighth grade, he had his brother teach him how to throw a football, knowing that football at that level carried no weight restrictions.
“I was always too big to play quarterback before that,” said Hearns, whose size — 6-4, 225 pounds — is now an asset at the position. “But I always knew that’s what I wanted to be.”
Hearns had what amounted to a coming-out party at Kennedy last fall, completing 111 of 213 passes for 1,387 yards and nine touchdowns despite the Eagles’ winless record.
With a potent arm, above-average speed and prototypical size, Hearns has been attracting interest from a growing number of Division I colleges. Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked to Hearns about his future.
Q: On recruiting websites, they generally list you as a “dual-threat” quarterback. Is that accurate?
A: I think I am a dual-threat, but the truth is I’m more of a thrower. I will gladly sit in the pocket and throw, but if I have to run, I will.
Q: What are the skills that the recruiters like?
A: They’ve talked about my leadership skills, that I’m responsible and I have good communication.
Q: How about physical skills?
A: I have great arm strength. I can throw the ball about 65 yards flat-footed. If I get a run at it, about 70 yards, maybe a little more.
Q: What schools have shown the most interest in you?
A: I’ve heard from Iowa State, Wyoming, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, South Dakota, a few others.
Q: Do you have a dream school?
A: Ohio State, by far. I grew up watching them, my favorite player played for them. I would love to play there.
Q: What if Michigan came calling? Would you play there?
A: [Laughs] I’m not really a Michigan fan, but of course I would play there.
Q: Have you heard from Minnesota?
A: I haven’t. It kind of bothers me because I thought I might get some interest from the hometown school, but I guess they’re not interested.
Q: Bloomington Kennedy hasn’t had a lot of success in recent years. Has that affected your development?
A: It’s actually helped me mature a lot and become a better player. I’ve become a more vocal leader. College coaches like to see their quarterbacks win, so my goal is to help the team win in any way I can.
Q: What are your summer plans?
A: I’ve been invited to a couple of camps. One in Iowa, another at NDSU. The schools that are interested in me, I want to go there and given them a chance to see what I can do.
Q: Any timeline for a decision?
A: It all depends on what happens this summer.
Q: Your best football memory?
A: In my sophomore year, I broke a tackle, ran around for about 20 yards, then threw a deep one 60 yards for a touchdown.
Q: What is the toughest part about being a quarterback?
A: A lot of people think you just stand back there and throw the ball. It’s a lot harder than that. There’s a lot of decisionmaking. You have to got through your reads. It’s a hard process.