In the middle of a week of preparation for what is expected to be one of Guyer’s toughest games of the season, the Wildcats’ senior quarterback took a break on Monday evening.
Jerrod Heard was honored during a news conference at Guyer with an official invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the prestigious high school All-American game.
The game will be played Jan. 4 in the Alamodome in San Antonio and will be nationally televised on NBC.
Heard is the fifth Denton-area athlete to be selected to participate in the game, which has included names such as Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck, Reggie Bush, C.J. Spiller and several other NFL stars. He’s also the second Guyer quarterback to be selected in three years, following J.W. Walsh’s selection to the 2011 game.
Other past area players who were selected to play in the game were Ryan alum Jarvis Moss (2003), Denton alum Herman Johnson (2004) and Liberty Christian alum Ben Habern (2008).
“It’s a great honor to be a part of that select few that’s chosen,” said Heard, who is one of 90 players selected to the rosters. “I appreciate everyone that’s helped me get to this point. I talked to J.W. about it, and he said he had a great time and a great experience, and that it’s one of those things you’ll never forget.”
Heard, who has already committed to Texas, is definitely worthy of the honor. As a three-year starter at Guyer, the dual-threat quarterback has elevated himself to the upper echelon of high school quarterbacks in the nation since leading Guyer to a Class 4A Division I state championship last year with an MVP performance in the Wildcats’ comeback win over Georgetown.
Heard finished his junior season with 2,138 rushing yards and 35 scores while throwing for 17 touchdowns and 2,090 yards.
This season, Heard has Guyer poised for a similar run, which began with Friday night’s 69-7 rout of Saginaw in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
Heard enters Friday night’s area-round game against Waco with 1,459 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns to go with 1,568 passing yards and 17 scores.
But Guyer head coach John Walsh, who experienced the game and the week leading up to it with his son just three years ago, said Heard’s demeanor is what makes him special, beyond his obvious skills on the football field.
“He’s special because of his physical attributes, but what really makes him special is he’s humble and he’s modest,” Walsh said. “And when you come off as humble as he does, the kids will follow you. He’ll represent our program well.”
Heard joins two other players from Guyer in its brief history to be named All-Americans — J.W. Walsh and former defensive tackle Taylor Bible, who was a 2009 Parade All-American and was selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game following his senior season at Guyer.
“It’s a great honor to be a part of that tradition and that elite group from Guyer,” Heard said. “I’m excited. I’m going to enjoy it and just have a blast.”
Walsh said that while his quarterback will get a great week of competitive football to close out his high school career, the most important aspect of the experience is everything else that goes with the game.
Players visit hospitals and war veterans while also getting a chance to bond with people who they’ll be competing against on the college level.
“Living that experience down in San Antonio is special, and I was fortunate to get to see a lot of that with J.W.,” Walsh said. “The U.S. Army does a great job of making it a first-class event, and Jerrod and his parents are going to get to see that first-hand. You’re at hospitals and with people that have been in Afghanistan. I think the players and adults both get a better appreciation for our armed forces. I know I did.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.