It's often said that the best players step it up when the game is on the line and there's a lot riding on the outcome. One player who definitely fits that billing is 2012 Abbeville RB Ashton Heard. The electrifying back had a sensational junior season in helping the Panthers to the 1A Division state championship last year. He's also the latest prospect to be featured in SCPrepNation.com's "UP NEXT" series.
Last year Abbeville defeated Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School 42-13 to win the 1A state championship. Many people didn't give the Panthers a chance but they proved naysays wrong en route to the title. One of the biggest stars that day was Ashton Heard as he enjoyed what he says is most definitely his most memorable game performance to date.
"I would have to say the best game is the state championship game against Bamberg-Ehrhardt. I put up huge numbers. I had my career high of 230 rushing yards and scored 2 touchdowns. I will always remember that game it was the biggest game I've ever played in in my life."
Last year was great overall for Heard and the Panthers as they went 13-1 on the season ending up with the state championship trophy. Heard says he had over 1800 yards and 27 touchdowns on the season. The junior running back already has some goals set for his upcoming senior season and he shared them with us.
"My goals for the team next season is to repeat as state champions. Something we have never did in Abbeville High School history. My personal goals are to have at least 25 touchdowns and over 2,000 total yards."
Heard also has a game that he's already looking forward to suiting up for next season as well.
"Lincoln County, this will be our second game week 1. The reason I'm looking forward to this game is because they're a 1A powerhouse out of Georgia."
What has been Heard's bread and butter so to speak in piling up such huge numbers for the Panthers and where does he want to make improvements?
"My biggest strengths are being able to get yards after contact and never letting my feet die. I'm working more on my footwork and my breakaway speed. I'm working on not just being a power back but a mixture of the two."
Heard already has some schools showing early interest but he's hoping to add more suitors to the mix and eventually some offers. He shared those schools and what it is that he'll be looking for when it comes time to select a college.
"I've heard from Clemson, The Citadel, Charleston Southern, North Greenville, Lehigh, and Furman so far. I'm not really picky about the location but wherever that perfect school is I want to have a good connection with the coaching staff. I would love to play in a big conference like the ACC or the SEC."
Heard made his first visit this past Saturday to Wofford and he's hoping to take more visits during some upcoming camps.
"I plan on attending The Citadel's camp, and Furman University camp, but I would love to attend as many as possible this off season so more college coaches can see me."
SCPrepNation.com will bring you more recruiting updates with Ashton Heard as he projects as one of the state's top running backs in the 2012 class. Check out some of Heard's numbers in the weight room below.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS...ASHTON HEARD
Bench press: 345 pounds
Squat: 405 pounds
Power clean: 260 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.5 seconds
Pro shuttle: 4.2 seconds
Heard scores a touchdown during last year's 1A state championship game versus Bamberg-Ehrhardt