QB Jerrod Heard is the right move for Texas
It seemed inevitable coming into the season—now it’s official. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard is the starting quarterback at the University of Texas.
After playing only five snaps in the opener against Notre Dame, Heard stepped onto the field for 34 of Texas’ 40 snaps against Rice; the difference between Heard and the incumbent starter, Tyrone Swoopes, was seen immediately.
Heard’s biggest strength is his ability to make big plays with his legs—not always the first thing you want to hear about a quarterback, but it’s a dynamic dimension, nonetheless. He picked up 96 yards on the ground on eight carries; 65 of those yards came on three scrambles, while he picked up 31 yards on five designed runs.
As a passer, he finished 4/5 for 120 yards and two touchdowns (+0.5), though an underthrown deep ball that turned into his first college TD inflates the numbers. There will be some growing pains in the passing game, but Heard’s ability to run should open up the back end of the defense as he develops as a passer.
As for Swoopes, we know what he is at this point, as he’s a year removed from a -23.2 grade as a passer; he’s off to a -4.4 start in 2015 (8/25 for 93 yards). Unless Swoopes showed dramatic improvement, the move to Heard was always going to be in the cards.
Is Heard the quarterback Texas has been longing for? We’ll have a much better idea over the next few weeks.