WASHINGTON, Ga. – Washington-Wilkes receiver/tight end Da’Quan Heard signed his letter of intent in a cafeteria celebration in front of classmates Wednesday morning to play for Georgia Southern.
Heard, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound receiver/tight end who ran sprints and high jumped for the Tigers, chose Georgia Southern over Southern Conference rival Appalachian State. Heard also got offers from Indiana State and Lenoir-Rhyne.
“Went to camp there three years straight and kind of liked it there,” Heard said of Georgia Southern, which advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship semifinals the last two seasons and holds six national championships. “I liked the atmosphere and felt comfortable there. Always wanted to play football there and it’s close to home.”
Despite the Mountaineers’ more pass-oriented offense, Heard chose the in-state Eagles who want him to play receiver, tight end and a little bit of A-back in its triple-option system.
“I just had to put that aside and do what I felt was comfortable for me,” he said. “As long as I’m playing football and both of them have a chance to win, I’m pretty happy with my decision.”
Heard made a huge leap his senior season after making only nine receptions for 81 yards as a junior. He caught 39 passes for 635 yards and seven touchdowns for the Tigers in the first season under new head coach Robbie Robinson.
“It was a huge improvement,” Heard said with a laugh.
Robinson utilized Heard more as a tight end due to injuries, and the opportunity allowed him to run more routes across the middle and showcase his talents to college recruiters. His head coach thinks Georgia Southern “got a steal.”
“I saw him as a big body that we could do some things with,” said Robinson. “We was a wideout in a wing-T system and he was excited that we were going to throw the ball a little bit more. Quan has got so much potential even he doesn’t realize what he's gonna be capable of doing.”
Heard runs the 40 in 4.65 and cleared 6-2 in the high jump his senior season. And he power cleans 290 pounds, helping his explosiveness.
“His potential is enormous and he’s going to accomplish a lot of great things at Georgia Southern,” said Robinson.
Heard flashed a constant smile watching a highlight film of his senior season and posing for pictures with family and friends.
“I’m just pretty excited, that’s all I can say right now,” Heard said.
“I’m very proud of him,” said his mother, Angel Heard, who attended Georgia Southern herself. “It’s a good program. He loved the coaches and players and academics. Very family-oriented.”
Washington-Wilkes only had only six seniors on the 2011 football team and three of them have a chance to play at the next level.
Adam Hackney, an offensive tackle, postponed his decision between three Division III schools which don’t give out athletic scholarships. Hackney is a candidate for several academic scholarships including a potential full ride to Lagrange College.
Running back T.J. Mickens will make a recruiting visit to Union College this week before making his decision.