Denton Guyer coach John Walsh knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.
The father and coach of Oklahoma State standout J.W. Walsh, John presides over a balanced offense that asks its quarterback to do everything from sling the ball around in spread sets to move the ball as a runner on quarterback power and counter plays.
"We identify those guys when they're in middle school," Walsh said. "We want to be a certain way on offense. So our quarterback's got to be able to throw, he's got to be able to run. He's got to be physical and he's got to be smart. And we've been fortunate: we lost one (J.W. Walsh), we got one (Heard) and we've got some coming."
Heard filled that role to a T — he finished his outstanding junior season with 2,090 yards passing and 2,138 yards rushing, while accounting for 42 combined rushing and passing touchdowns.
"I think the biggest leap he's made came in the middle of this year," Walsh said. "I think he started off this year kind of like he was last year, pretty dang good. I've watched him grow mentally in all his checks and all his reads. Right now, he's a special quarterback and I think if the University of Texas fans were watching, they're probably pretty happy."
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound signal caller has already emerged as arguably the state's top quarterback in 2014. So what can he do for an encore? Where can Heard make the biggest improvement?
"He's extremely physical right now," Walsh said. "It would have to be mentally. [Quarterbacks] can never be smart enough. Because he can run, you saw that. He's strong and he can spin it. So I think getting mentally sharper, that's probably the best thing he can do."