Entering the 2011 season, the question facing Jerrod Heard was how was he going to replace all-American Oklahoma St. signee J.W. Walsh as Denton Guyer's quarterback. After all, Walsh took a program which won only one game in his first year as starter to back-to-back state semi-finals and the 2011 5A Division II State Championship game.
Heard answered quickly. He guided Guyer to a win over Garland in his first start and performed admirably in front of a national television audience at Cowboys Stadium in a close loss to Cedar Hill in his second. By the end of the season there was no question he had silenced the doubters as he completed 130 of 223 passes for 2,286 yards, 28 TDs and only 10 INTs. If that was not enough, Heard added 650 yards and 5 scores on 136 carries, as he helped lead Guyer to the second round of the playoffs and an 8-4 finish.
As 2012 approaches, there are still questions, but they are no longer about if Heard can play, rather where. As in where will Jerrod Heard play his college football?
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Heard has never been one to let a question linger so on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, Heard decided it was time to give his answer. The 6-2, 180-pound signal caller will be a Longhorn, and it's a decision he has been thinking about for some time.
"I kind of knew when they had interest, but I was just playing the field," Heard said. "When they offered I knew it was a done deal."
Heard had no shortage of college options. During the spring and summer months Nebraska, Ohio St., LSU, Baylor, Arizona and Arizona St. each offered scholarships. The Texas Longhorns approved him for an offer early on, but held off on extending a formal scholarship. That did not prevent the Longhorns from letting him know he was a priority.
Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin kept in touch with the Denton Guyer coaching staff to let it know Heard was the guy he wanted. When Heard camped in Austin this summer at the Texas three-day camp, it only served to convince the Texas coaches further of what they already knew - Heard was their guy for the 2014 class.
At the time, Texas had a policy of not offering underclassmen. UT preferred to wait until the current class of seniors signed and had its moment to shine. When the Texas coaches changed that policy and let many prospects know of their official offers, Heard was at the very top of the list.
Since Heard and his family grew up following the Longhorns closely, there was thought he might decide to commit on Saturday following a visit to the Texas campus. It was his first visit to UT since being offered. Heard opted not to pull the trigger but the Longhorns put themselves at the top of a short list that also included LSU and Ohio St.
After discussing his options with his family it did not take long for Heard to figure out the answer to the question on the minds of so many. It was Texas, and there were a few reasons why the Horns won out.
"The hospitality. They always brought my family in and everything they did was family first," Heard said. "Also I will be familiar with their offense. It's similar to ours."
Another big reason the Longhorns stuck out was co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. On Saturday, Heard got a close-up view of the his now future college coach in action, and he liked what he saw. However, he also liked what he saw off the field.
"He talks life before he talks football which is a big thing for me and my family," Heard said. "Because at the end of it I may or may not go to the league and he talked about academics and graduating from the University of Texas."
Heard does not know for sure what he will major in at Texas but he does know one thing.
"I have a whole bunch of thoughts. I don't know what I'm going to do," Heard said. "I just want to graduate from there."
Heard is currently ranked No. 6 in the Lone Star Recruiting's 2014 Top 100, and becomes the fifth member of the Longhorns' 2014 recruiting class. He joins Abilene Cooper receiver Lorenzo Joe, San Antonio Brennan defensive end Derick Roberson, Aldine Eisenhower running back Donald Catalon and Fort Worth All Saints fullback Daniel Gresham.