Hayden Wolff knows what he wants out of his time in college.
Taped to a wall in his bedroom are the records that the Venice High senior wants to break when he goes off to Old Dominion next month — 5,076 yards and 44 touchdown passes, the single-season records set by current NFL quarterback Taylor Heinicke back with the Monarchs in 2012.
Wolff took his first official step toward putting his name in the ODU record books when he signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Monarchs on Wednesday at awards night for the Venice football team.
But Wolff has stared at the records for so long, he no longer needs to study them.
“5,076 passing yards and 44 touchdowns,” he rattles off as if it’s as natural to him as his height and weight. “That’s one of my personal goals by the time I graduate. It’s a big goal, I know that, but it’s something I’m gonna work hard to reach.”
For the 6-foot-5, 215- pound quarterback, the decision to commit to ODU over 14 other offers — including Kentucky — was one that didn’t take a whole lot of convincing. The Monarchs, which run an air-raid spread offense, were a perfect fit for the 31st ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation by 247Sports.
“They want to throw the ball 40-50 times a game,” Wolff said. “That’s rare to find. For example, their quarterback threw for like 500 yards when Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech when they were ranked 10th in the country. They want to throw the ball around, and that’s why they recruited me. So, I’m excited to get working with them.”
Aside from the Monarchs’ offensive scheme and the city of Norfolk, another selling point for Wolff was his chance to play right away.
Ranked as the second- best recruit in ODU history according to SB Nation, Wolff will have a chance to compete for the starting job as soon as he steps foot on campus.
“It’s gonna be a great opportunity to go in and get some playing time early,” he said. “I knew that when I committed. I could have gone to a bigger school like Kentucky and maybe sat for a year or two before having a chance to compete. But I chose Old Dominion because I knew they always believed in me and I’ll have a chance to play soon.”
And Wolff isn’t waiting until he moves up to Virginia Beach to get started.
Since Venice’s season ended in the 7A semifinals on Nov. 30, Wolff has already began working on getting familiar with the Monarchs playbook and has also been watching practice film.
Coming off a season in which the Indians senior passed for 2,684 yards with a 63.2 completion percentage and 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions, Indians coach John Peacock was more than impressed at Wolff’s ability to lead the team as a brand-new member after transferring from Lemon Bay for his senior season.
“He was a great leader,” Peacock said. “Obviously he has a very strong arm and he makes good decisions. He’s a student of the game. He ran the offense to perfection. Not just with his numbers, but really running the offense and getting us in and out of plays, making the proper checks. He just did a great job all year long.”
While Wolff and the Indians made a deep playoff run, one thing the senior quarterback will remember about his final high school season is getting the chance to throw to his brother every Friday night.
Wolff’s brother, Weston, caught 70 of Wolff’s 189 completions in 2018.
“There’s nothing better,” he said. “(Weston) is my best friend and I was the luckiest person in the world to be able to play with him.”
While Weston already has an offer to ODU in hand, the Venice sophomore may be destined for a different path than his brother.
“He’s probably gonna end up somewhere big-time, but if it ends up like that with us together again, that would be really awesome,” Hayden said.
Along with breaking the ODU school passing records, Wolff also has his eye on winning a Conference USA title, and winning a bowl game as well.
If all goes according to plan, his goals might not stop there.
Heinicke, who is in his fourth season in the NFL, will be the starting quarterback for the Panthers over the final two games of the season with Cam Newton injured.
The path has been laid out for Wolff, and all that’s left is for him to finally get started.
“The city is awesome,” he said of Norfolk. “It’s on the water, so it reminded me of home. Virginia Beach is 15 minutes away or less, so that’s a great vacation spot. My family can come visit me all the time.
“I’m really excited for it all. I’ve grown up in two small towns — Venice and Englewood — and I’m ready to leave and start my next journey.”