Jerrod Heard, Wide Receiver?

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When one door closes, another opens. It’s a platitude, sure, but for Texas’ wide receiving corps, it may be true.

After losing Ryan Newsome (transfer to Arizona State), DeAndre McNeal (suspension), and Lorenzo Joe (hamstring injury) in the last three weeks, the Longhorns might be converting former starting quarterback Jerrod Heard to WR this fall—if senior safety Kevin Vaccaro can speak for coach Charlie Strong.

At a media event last night, Vaccaro said that Heard had made the switch and was coming along well, after much speculation this offseason following an injury in the spring, the ascension of true freshman QB Shane Buechele, and Heard’s practicing without his normal non-contact jersey earlier this week. Quarterbacks and injured players wear non-contact jerseys during practice.

As a redshirt freshman, Heard started 10 games at quarterback in 2010, most notably in a 45-44 loss to Cal in Austin on Sept. 19. Heard threw for 364 yards and rushed for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the potential game-tying scramble that was made irrelevant after Nick Rose missed the ensuing extra point. Heard’s 527 total yards broke Vince Young’s school record of 506 against Oklahoma State in 2005, but he struggled down the stretch and suffered a concussion on Thanksgiving against Texas Tech. During that game, Heard made the only reception of his college career, a three-yard pass from Tyrone Swoopes.

Heard injured his shoulder this spring and sat out the Orange and White Scrimmage, a game in which true freshman Buechele went 22-for-41 with 299 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Texas has not issued an official announcement on Heard, and Vaccaro’s comments do not appear on Texas Athletics’ blog post wrapping up last night’s player availability. And less than a month ago at Big 12 Media Days, Strong denied that Heard was switching from quarterback. “You’re going to always need those quarterbacks because you never know what’s going to happen,” Strong said. This may be an experiment by Strong, it may be a smoke-screen, or it may be for real, but one thing is certain: However Strong can get the explosive Heard on the field, he’ll find a way to do it.

Photo by Anna Donlan.

 

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