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Jerrod Heard takes advantage of spring break at George Whitfield's QB camp

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The four-star prospect also discussed his recruitment with CBS Sports.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports


Texas Longhorns quarterback signee Jerrod Heard knows about that after spending his own money to travel out to San Diego to train over spring break with renowned quarterback guru George Whitfield, along with an elite group of college quarterbacks that also included Baylor's Bryce Petty.

Of course, for a prospect like Heard, giving up his final high school vacation to refine his skills may not even have been a sacrifice, just a necessary step for a player willing to soak up everything like a sponge to position himself as a potential long-term answer for the Longhorns at the most critical position on the field.

The mature decision to better himself as a player was reflected in his demeanor as a student, too:

Maturity is a key component to becoming an effective, but the camp focused on technical proficiency.

Included in the Whitfield-designed camp was a drill designed to help the quarterbacks understand how to use a pass-rushers momentum against them by making subtle moves inside the pocket instead of bailing and perhaps running into another defender in the process:

For a quarterback who is too quick to take off running, the drill is a reminder that moving just out of a rusher's reach should allow enough time to reset and throw. Later, the quarterbacks also threw over interns holding up tennis rackets to simulate dropping passes into holes in zone coverage. They also took part in the "zombie drill," which simulates a complete breakdown of the pocket and forces the quarterback to evade rushers multiple times before throwing.

An interview at the event also provided some insight into Heard's recruitment.

Throughout all the turmoil following the coaching staff, Heard was one the anchors, the focal point around which the class revolved as Signing Day approached.

The top dual-threat quarterback in the country wasn't without suitors, either. Asked by Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports which schools pursued him the hardest, Heard had three on his mind.

"Probably Baylor, Boise State and Missouri," said the 2014 US Army All-American. "They were just seeing where I was at and if I had made that decision to go somewhere else."

Baylor didn't end up taking a quarterback in the class after Randall Cunningham II decided to pursue a track career, while former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin tried to parlay his relationship with Heard into a flip.

Fortunately for Texas, Heard took a pragmatic approach to recruiting, citing a buzzword that isn't always prevalent in a world of instant gratification-- patience.

"At that time period, I didn't know what was going to happen and who Texas was going to hire," Heard said of the wild days after the resignation of former head coach Mack Brown. "I just had to be patient."

Ultimately, Heard took responsibility for his own decision and acted to reduce the noise around him to discover his own intentions.

"I definitely had to have patience," the Denton Guyer product told Feldman. "I didn't want to rush things or really panic over what other people were telling me. I just had to wait and see, but when I heard it was (Charlie) Strong and (quarterbacks coach) Shawn (Watson) coming in, I was pretty settled and excited to hear they were coming in."

Heard didn't have a relationship new quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, but his patience gave him an opportunity to consider the system run by the former Louisville offensive coordinator at previous stops and recognize that his skills were a fit.

"I felt like I could easily adjust to a system and still have my athletic abilities to still make plays," Heard told CBS Sports. "Coach Watson does run the West Coast offense spread and that's kinda what we ran at (Denton) Guyer (High School). I felt really accustomed to that and liked his ideas of what he brings to the game."

Then again, the commitment of Heard to Texas was such that he told Feldman there wasn't any system that head coach Charlie Strong could have brought in that would have turned him off of his longtime commitment.

Such is the confidence of a three-year starter, US Army All-American, and two-time state champion.

Confidence that feeds into high expectations of himself when arrives on campus at Texas this June, even though he tempered his expectations with the type of team-first mindset that is hardly surprising.

"They are whatever the coaches want me to do," Heard said. "Of course, I feel like I can play. Like coach said, it is up to me, but it's also how the situation goes."

"The (QB) job is an open situation, especially with the new coaching staff and a new system coming in. It's an open job, so I'm going to try and get in, get my opportunity and take over."

That hope may not spring entirely eternal, but Heard continues to display all the attributes that should transfer well to a fantastic career at Texas.