The two-time state champion amassed over 6500 yards passing and more than 4900 yards rushing in three years as a starting QB playing in a spread offense. He accounted for 134 touchdowns over that time period and built a reputation for rallying and carrying a good but not great Guyer supporting cast to victory in tight ballgames in survive and advance formats. It's perilous to attribute extraordinary intangible qualities to high school players, but Heard's low key approach to recruiting, his desire to have the ball in his hands in key moments and his overall coachable nature suggests a college-ready emotional make-up.
I've been writing about Heard since he caught my eye as a high school sophomore. And since then. While he still has considerable growth available in the passing game, Heard throws a nice deep ball and is solid in the spread short passing game, can throw on the run, and his arm is more than adequate for a high level college spread offense. Put him on the move and give him throws that exploit the defensive overreaction to his mobility and we've got our signal caller of the future. If Joe Wickline and Shaun Watson try to make him into a more conventional passer, shame on us. But I don't see that happening.
Despite average college QB size (he'll top out around 6-2, 210), Heard is very functionally strong/flexible in his hips and ankles and as he gains weight, he should maintain his durability, agility and the ability to power through arm tackles and shrug off glancing blows in the pocket.
Heard's only relative weakness is inconsistent accuracy in the intermediate passing game. That's a problem if that inaccuracy stems from something fundamental to his nature rather than a simple mechanical correction that can be solved with repetition and good tutelage. The progress he made in a short time with Trent Dilfer at his elite camps tells me that he's still a high ceiling prospect.
Yuma, AZ (JUCO)
A likely contributor in 2014, as much for a lack of available options as pure ability, the big Canadian was the highest rated JUCO TE in the nation. His film and formative journey to Texas represents two very different TE experiences.
The first batch of film features Whiteley playing high school ball in Vancouver, Canada as a big WR excelling against very poor prep competition. Whiteley caught over 70 balls as a senior, displaying excellent hands and some raw athletic ability. He also didn't see a weight room, had little coaching, and had no experience with in-line blocking. He chose to go Arizona Western to showcase his talents for college scouts and to try to land a major program scholarship.
At Arizona Western, Whiteley grew into his body after discovering the weight room and the former WR/flex TE was transformed into a blocking TE on a running team with enough strength to handle edge players and the mobility to stalk and bury defensive backs. He only caught 8 balls at Western Arizona, but he became a willing blocker and his overall athletic development was sufficient to garner the attention of a number of major college programs. It's encouraging in these clips that Whiteley is actually moving better than he did in high school despite carrying more weight.
Needless to say, Whiteley's potential isn't even close to being tapped and imagining him eventually as a 6-5, 255 pound TE with reliable hands over the middle and in the red zone and the ability to handle himself as a blocker isn't much of a stretch.
Whiteley played only one year of JUCO ball and he'll have three years of eligibility at Texas. While it's unclear if he can clear the next hurdle of athletic competition he'll be facing, Whiteley's athletic trajectory over the last two years has been on a steep upward slope of improvement.