New Texas football coach Charlie Strong has made his intentions perfectly clear since taking over the Longhorn program from Mack Brown last month.
Almost immediately, Strong talked about his new rules for the program, and it was a strict set of edicts. No earrings, no headphones in class, no texting in class, sitting in the first two rows of every class and, perhaps most controversially, forcing players to live on campus with the exception of select seniors in good academic standing.
Several Texas recruits decommitted when the rules were made public. Strong’s arrival and his no-frills approach made Jerrod Heard’s commitment even stronger.
On Wednesday, the Guyer quarterback signed his national letter of intent with Texas and headlines the first class in Austin under Strong as 247Sports’ top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country.
“A lot of guys commit to coaches instead of the university, and that [playing for the Longhorns] is what I based my commitment on,” said Heard, who committed to Texas following his sophomore season prior to winning two straight state championships. “The coach is important, but it was more of the university and wanting to be there. When Strong made that decision, I was definitely committed then.”
Heard was on board with the strict rules to get rid of Texas’ image of being “soft” in recent years. Heard is at the forefront of players who want to change that perception in a hurry. He has been groomed for years to be in an environment like the one Strong wants, not only by his high school coach but also by his parents, Reginald and Tina Heard. Until this year, Heard had an 11 p.m. curfew and had strict rules to abide by at home.
“When the press release came out about the new rules, I mean, that’s Jerrod,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “He loves that kind of stuff. That probably made it more attractive for him.”
Heard said he believes he fits Texas’ new offense to a T and is ready to see how the offensive staff comes together with quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson and offensive coordinator Joe Wickline, who helped lead successful offenses at Louisville and Oklahoma State, respectively.
Heard started 44 games at Guyer and racked up 6,512 passing yards and 4,949 rushing yards with 67 rushing touchdowns to go along with another 67 scores through the air — a shining example of a dual threat.
“Talking to Watson, his game plan is going to be amazing,” Heard said. “He’s making it simple for the quarterback, but it’s going to be just as deadly. I know with Wickline the OSU offense was deadly, too. It’s going to be amazing to see those two come together and see what it comes out to be.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.