SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ — If someone were to design the quintessential body frame and skill set for a Division I football scholarship quarterback, they’d practically come up with Cooper Heisey. Yet, despite these attributes, Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s all-time leading passer has yet to receive a single NCAA scholarship offer.
Heisey is not letting that get in the way of his future football aspirations, however. The quarterback will test the prep school waters this upcoming season hoping to find the college that will believe in him. He has elected to take a post-graduate year for the class of 2019 and will attend the prestigious football institution of Milford Academy in New York this fall. Currently a senior, Heisey will become the first football player from Scotch Plains-Fanwood HIgh School to play at a fifth year prep academy.
Prepping will allow Heisey another year to garner exposure at camps, combines, showcases, in addition to during games. With Milford’s rich football legacy and connections, plenty of eyes on the national level will be set on him.
“Milford has an amazing reputation of developing players and sending them on to great schools,” Heisey told TAPinto.net. “I went up there and felt comfortable with the coaches, especially the OC [offensive coordinator]. I think it’s a great place and I can’t wait to get started there.”
With a 6-foot, 4-inch, 215-pound frame, more than 5,400 career passing yards, and good grades to boot, every student-athlete aspect of Heisey would seem to project him as a Division I scholarship player. However, even with his multitude of admirable qualities, interest from schools was hard to come by.
The former Raiders’ and future Milford Falcons’ quarterback was granted preferred walk-on opportunities and interest from multiple mid-major schools, but Heisey felt he deserved better after leading the football talent-rich state of New Jersey in passing yards (3,039) in the fall.
“I, along with a lot of my coaches believe I developed a little late in process,” Heisey said. “I want to prove everyone wrong and believe I have the ability to play scholarship level football.”
While Heisey is being "slept on" by schools, in many respects, those who have coached him, worked with and played alongside him are aware of his potential. Perhaps nobody knows Heisey as a player more than his personal quarterback coach, Matt Bastardi.
The owner of Elite QB, a service that trains and develops QBs of all levels, Bastardi has nurtured Heisey throughout his career and plays an integral part of Heisey’s development.
“Cooper needs to make the the next step up in competition so he can continue to improve,” Bastardi told TAPinto.net. “Self betterment is an evolutionary process. The only way we get better is by competing against better. I am fond of a verse from the Book of Proverbs (27:17) which reads (paraphrasing), ‘as iron sharpens iron, so one person will sharpen another’.”
Bastardi started training Heisey in January of his sophomore year, and 10 months later, Heisey made his first career varsity start against Montgomery High School, where Bastardi is the quarterbacks coach. Heisey only accumulated 87 yards and threw four interceptions that October night, but Bastardi shared a story that he warned Montgomery’s head coach to blitz Heisey unless they wanted to “watch him play missile command” all night.
From that first start to the present, Heisey has evolved into one of the state’s premier QBs.
“Milford is getting a traditional pro style QB who has the ability to make plays with his feet as well as check to ‘best play’ for the defense,” said Bastardi. “In short, he has good foot speed for a big man and good accuracy in his passes. He also possesses ‘QB intelligence’ for knowing where to go with the ball on pass plays.”
“He most certainly does [possess skills needed for higher level success],” Bastardi added, “and this is in thanks to a large part to [SPF head coach Mark] Ciccotelli and his staff.”
Ciccotelli certainly knew Heisey’s ability this fall, designing an entire offense around his passing capabilities. Heisey thrived under the aerial assault system, tossing 27 TDs and competing 217-of-361 passes for 3,039 yards.
Choosing Milford Academy over other prestigious prep schools can surely pay dividends for Heisey. Located in New Berlin, New York, — 215 miles north of Scotch Plains — Milford has produced copious amounts of NCAA D1 and even NFL talent.
Notable Milford QB alumni who have gone on to play at the Division I level include: Ashton Broyld, Syracuse; Erich Berzinskas, Purdue; Noah Mitchell, West Virginia; PJ Zingler, Buffalo; Jacob Dolegala, Central Connecticut; Vincent Aranda, Wagner.
Soon enough, Cooper Heisey is bound to make that list, as well.