We’re breaking down what we think will be Texas’ starting lineup. We’re doing two a day, one offensive and one defensive player, in alphabetical order on both sides.
Senior wide receiver, 6-2, 205
High school: Denton Guyer
Signing class: 2015
Career games: 35
Career starts: 12
Career numbers: 45 receptions for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns; 602 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns; 1,232 yards passing with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions
Who he was — before Texas
Heard was a star quarterback at Guyer during his prep career. He was a member of the 2014 Fabulous 55 after leading Guyer to back-to-back Class 4A Division I state championships in 2012 and 2013. Heard participated in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and The Opening Final. He went 36-8 as a varsity starter. He passed and rushed for more than 2,000 yards in an all-state senior season, accounting for 50 total touchdowns. He threw just six interceptions on 231 passing attempts.
Heard made his varsity debut as a sophomore, finishing the season as the District 7-5A offensive newcomer of the year in 2011 after throwing for 2,286 yards and rushing for 650, scoring 33 total touchdowns. He threw and ran for more than 2,000 yards as a junior on the way to his first of two state championships.
Who Heard has been here — so far
The road to become a starting wide receiver wasn’t easy for Heard. He’s been the definition of team player during his time in Texas, moving positions and providing support to quarterback and wide receiver without much fuss or complaint.
He took a redshirt in 2014 and began his UT career as a full-time quarterback in 2015.
He ended up starting at quarterback for 10 of the 12 games, finishing with 1,214 yards and five touchdowns through the air. He was second on the team with 556 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Heard became the seventh player at Texas to score a touchdown as a quarterback, running back and receiver in 2016 when he made the switch to wide receiver. He finished the year with 24 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
He continued his progress at the wide receiver position as a junior, logging 20 catches for 156 yards and a touchdown. The lack of depth at quarterback, coupled with injury to both Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele, forced Heard to remain familiar with the quarterback position and not put his full effort into perfecting his craft as a wide receiver.
Who Texas needs him to be this season
Why is Heard such a fan favorite? Probably for the way he handled a major position change with class. The quarterback-turned-receiver could’ve made life difficult for former coach Charlie Strong, but he didn’t. Heard made two starts at receiver in 2016 and stayed there all last season. He finished with 20 catches for 156 yards.
The Horns need more production out of him, and you can bet fans will be ready to stand up and shout for Heard, too.
Filling in the lineup
So far …
WR: Jerrod Heard’s journey to wide receiver has been a winding one
DE: Texas hopes Breckyn Hager can revert to the 2016 version of himself
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.