The quarterback competition for the Texas Longhorns experienced a potentially significant development on Tuesday, when sophomore Jerrod Hear suffered a shoulder injury during practice, according to a release from the school. Though no other specifics were immediately available, including the exact nature of and possible timetable for the injury, the school said that he is receiving further evaluation.
On Thursday morning, Chip Brown of Horns Digest reported that Heard is "likely out for a while." However, that may not be the case -- while a Thursday release from the school did not specify a timetable for his return, it did characterize his injury as a "minor sprain" of his throwing shoulder. Heard has already started rehab.
If Heard is out for any extended period of time, it could do major damage to his ability to win the starting job. After starting for most of the season last year, Heard has mostly been receiving second-team reps behind senior Tyrone Swoopes, who is the frontrunner to win the job.
Early enrollee freshman Shane Buechele has been working with the third team and will likely move up into Heard's spot, while redshirt freshmen Kai Locksley and Matthew Merrick are both trailing the first group, perhaps by a significant margin. However, if Heard does miss extended time, Locksley could be the beneficiary of receiving more reps during the team portions of practice.
Heard started 10 games in 2015, taking over for Swoopes after the season opener and holding the job until an injury kept him from starting the season finale against Baylor. On the year, the 6'2, 195-pounder threw for 1,214 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions and added 556 yards and three touchdowns on 139 carries to finish as the team's second-leading rusher.