Coastal Carolina wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh is an underrated prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. But that’s okay, because the Chanticleers pass catcher has been overlooked and underrated before. Under-recruited, he went on to be an exciting playmaker at the next level. As his scouting report reveals, Heiligh has the potential to make that jump once more. This time, the next level will be starting on Sundays in the NFL.
Jaivon Heiligh NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Coastal Carolina
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’0 1/4″
- Weight: 200 pounds
- Wingspan: 76 3/8′
- Arm: 32 1/4″
- Hand: 9 1/4″
Jaivon Heiligh Scouting Report
This wide receiver class has become notable for its sheer depth of talent. As we’ve mentioned throughout the process, there’s the potential for five or six first-round receivers. Even into Day 3, NFL teams will be able to find quality starter value and impactful role players. Throughout the later rounds, there will be players that make their mark on the NFL.
Therefore, it’s easy to fall through the cracks or get overlooked in the process. This, I believe, is the case for Heiligh in this NFL Draft class. A productive college receiver, the Coastal Carolina product has a scouting report that showcases the potential to be a starter in the NFL. However, he hardly appears on the radar presently.
Heiligh’s allure as an NFL Draft prospect begins with his ability to win at the line of scrimmage. The Coastal Carolina WR has demonstrated the ability to beat press man with his releases. He showcases quick footwork and a package of releases that allow him to gain separation from the jump. While long speed is an issue we’ll get to later, Heiligh has the short-area burst to get the job done.
As a route runner, Heiligh showcases some NFL tendencies. The Coastal Carolina WR has demonstrated the ability to vary his tempo within his route to lull his opponent into a false sense of security. He’s also showcased the capacity to break with twitchiness and a fluid athleticism that maybe wasn’t reflected in his pro day testing.
Twitchiness, ball tracking, and body control
That twitchiness is apparent in terms of an after-the-catch threat. Heiligh can stop on a dime and demonstrates the ability to cut with impressive lateral agility to make a man miss and extend the play for a greater yardage gain. This body control overall is excellent, whether that be in contorting to be elusive after the catch or manipulating his body at the catch point.
In terms of pure catch ability, Heiligh has some impressive attributes too. Body control is one element. However, he also demonstrates good ball-tracking skills. With decent length, the Coastal Carolina WR has the ability to pluck the ball away from his body to secure catches at all three levels of the field.
With versatility such a huge part of NFL Draft evaluation, Heiligh ticks several boxes here. He’s seen reps both outside and in the slot at the college level. His scouting report would suggest that he has the ability to do the same in the NFL. Furthermore, he possesses both punt and kick return experience, adding another layer of versatility.
In summation, Heiligh’s scouting report showcases an NFL Draft prospect that has the requisite skill set to become a starter in the NFL. While he won’t ever be a true WR1, Heiligh has the potential to contribute to an offense both outside and from the slot. Meanwhile, the special-teams experience could help him see the field earlier in his career than some of his pass-catching contemporaries.
Areas for improvement
Although I believe that Heiligh has a scouting report packed with potential, there are some areas for improvement. Furthermore, for some teams, there are some issues on his college film that might cause concern for his translatability to the NFL level. Although some of these are coachable, some are not, which might impact his NFL Draft stock.
While Heiligh is a twitchy athlete with good burst, his lack of elite speed may be an issue for some teams. Although taking his 4.63 40-yard dash time as the critical factor in his evaluation would be foolish, he definitely has a slow-building, long-striding nature to his game that doesn’t lend itself to taking the top off an NFL defense. As the league focuses on speedier pass catchers, that could impact Heiligh’s draft stock.
Despite having played in an offense that features a lot of option concepts, Heiligh doesn’t possess high upside as a blocker. There’s a lack of physicality to his game in that regard. Furthermore, there are some technical issues that exist as far as blocking is concerned. The Coastal Carolina WR can miss his man entirely with timing issues and be comfortably manipulated with his poor hand placement.
As a pass catcher, there were some concentration catch issues on Heiligh’s tape. Additionally, there were some bobbled catches that you’d expect to see caught more cleanly. The lack of physicality noted in blocking above can be apparent in contested catch situations too, especially over the middle of the field.
Heiligh’s Player Profile
As a sophomore for Venice High School in his native Florida, Heiligh tallied 63 catches and 944 receiving yards while securing 11 touchdowns. During his junior campaign, the all-state pass catcher racked up another 10 touchdowns, adding 861 yards and 58 receptions to his high school résumé.
Yet, despite his early career production, his best was yet to come. During his senior season, Heiligh recorded a frankly ridiculous 131 receptions, 2,359 yards, and 32 touchdowns. Averaging 16.5 yards per catch, he was simply more than just a product of a high target count. He was a genuine big-play threat.
Heiligh’s senior season reception, yards, and touchdown numbers were all Florida high school records. More importantly, his production helped the Venice Indians to their first state championship since 2000. As a result, the productive pass catcher finished just behind his quarterback as the Florida 7A Player of the Year.
Despite holding the state record for career receptions — and his 3,964 yards and 53 touchdowns being the second-most for a high school career in the state — Heiligh was only a three-star receiver in the 2018 class. Furthermore, he was listed outside the top 300 receivers in the nation. With his only offers coming from Group of Five programs, Heiligh opted to follow quarterback and best friend Bryce Carpenter to the Chanticleers.
Heiligh’s career at Coastal Carolina
Immediate impact is something that’s difficult to quantify, particularly at the receiver position. During his true freshman season, Heiligh caught 14 passes for 202 yards, averaging 14.4 yards per catch — hardly earth-shattering numbers. Yet, in his debut, against Power Five opposition in South Carolina, the Coastal Carolina WR secured his first touchdown. He followed up with a second in just his second appearance.
Heiligh added another first during his sophomore season. As part of a team-leading 46 receptions and 497 receiving yards, he secured his first 100-yard game as a Coastal Carolina wide receiver. During that performance against Troy, he also established a program record with 12 receptions. While he didn’t find the end zone in that game, he did score touchdowns against UMass, Georgia State, and Louisiana-Monroe.
As the Chanticleers elevated themselves into national attention, Heiligh elevated his game. Earning All-Sun Belt first-team recognition, the Coastal Carolina WR totaled 998 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns with Grayson McCall under center. He recorded 100+ yard games against Liberty, Troy, Louisiana, and Georgia Southern.
Furthermore, Heiligh had three games with multiple touchdowns. He ended the season with a career-high 178 receiving yards in a Cure Bowl defeat to Liberty. In addition to setting bowl game records for yards and receptions, the Coastal Carolina WR set a new program record with 13 receptions.
Heiligh’s NFL Draft ascension
The sensational performance at the end of the 2020 season proved a catalyst for a career year for the Coastal Carolina wide receiver. Heiligh racked up six games with over 100 yards in his senior season. Furthermore, he averaged over 20 yards per catch in five different contests. His 7 touchdowns came from seven different games.
By the season’s end, Heiligh cracked 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. He also set a career-high with 17.1 yards per catch, establishing himself as a big-play threat. While his receiving performances earned him first-team All-Sun Belt honors for the second consecutive season, additional punting responsibility saw him land third-team recognition.
Having appeared on the watchlist of the three major all-star games, Heiligh accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl once he’d declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. He impressed Pro Football Network Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline, who commented on his ability to use sharpness in his breaks to create separation and noted that he “caught everything in sight.”
However, he was snubbed as an NFL Combine invitee. As a result, Heiligh used the Coastal Carolina Pro Day to post testing numbers ahead of the NFL Draft. The Coastal Carolina WR recorded a 4.63 40-yard dash, 7.19 three-cone, and 4.46 shuttle. Meanwhile, he posted an impressive 36″ vertical jump and a 9’9″ broad jump. The testing numbers, particularly the agility drills, aren’t totally reflective of what you see on film.