Vicksburg’s Heard headed to Mississippi State

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 25, 2002

[01/25/02]Vicksburg High’s David Heard won’t have to listen to Clarence McDougal’s taunts anymore.

Heard has decided to join the ex-Clinton star in Mississippi State’s secondary.

Declining visits to any other school, Heard verbally committed to MSU on Wednesday night. He is the first Vicksburg High player since Michael Lindsey in 1991 to go straight to the Southeastern Conference from VHS.

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“I want to major in engineering,” Heard said. “I liked their scholarship program and their academics.”

He even liked his future teammates, despite some good-natured ribbing on his official visit last weekend.

McDougal, who led Clinton to the North State championship in 2000, wanted to show a tape of the Arrows’ wins over Vicksburg High. Heard politely declined that offer, but accepted head coach Jackie Sherrill’s to join the team.

A Vicksburg Post All-County selection, the speedy 6-foot, 181-pound cornerback had 86 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a blocked punt and two defensive touchdowns to help lead the Gators to the North title game.

His heady play on the field and in the classroom was the most attractive aspect of landing Heard, VHS coach Alonzo Stevens said.

“I told the coaches up there that they couldn’t have gotten a better student-athlete,” Stevens said. “David Heard took care of business in the classroom. I told our team that David is going where he wants to go because he took care of his academics.”

Heard carries a 3.5 grade point average, which rivals his 40-yard dash time 4.4 seconds. He has long since passed the ACT exam.

“This is what we aim for,” Stevens said. “Academics is for life, but athletics comes to an end … .”

Heard said he called MSU coaches on Wednesday after his weekend visit, which included a 30-minute one-on-one with Sherrill.

“He laid everything out for me and didn’t put a lot of pressure on me,” Heard said. “He had my letter of intent and my scholarship papers in a plastic sleeve waiting for me.”

Heard will sign his official letter on Feb. 6, the first day high school players are allowed to sign.

His brother, Jacob, has been a student at MSU since 1998, but David said that was not a factor.

“I kind of didn’t want to go there because I wanted to move away. But that is my best chance to play,” said Heard, who picked MSU over LSU. Notre Dame showed interest before coach Bob Davie was fired.

Heard expects to redshirt his freshman year, but could be used in a secondary that ranked seventh in the Southeastern Conference.

“They’ll be real good again,” Heard said. “I like Joe Lee (Dunn’s) defense. There’s lots of blitzing and one-on-one coverage and that allows you to show what you can do. If it’s executed right, it’s a real good defense.”

The Bulldogs already have a verbal commitment from Clarksdale star Darren Williams, rated by The

Clarion-Ledger as the state’s top prospect, and Jerious Norwood of Brandon, a fleet-footed running back. Heard will also join former nemesis Brett Morgan, a Warren Central star who signed in the early period to play for the Bulldogs.

“We’ll all be maroon,” said Heard with a chuckle.

Heard said he is ready to get the rest of his senior year out of the way.

“I’m really looking forward to practice,” he said, “and I have never been eager about practice before.”