The eyes of Texas are upon the XFL

Jerrod Heard – TexasSports.com

Saturday at 12 o’clock central standard time, the Longhorns and Sooners will battle for bragging rights and the golden hat, but mostly for bragging rights.

I emphasize “bragging rights” because that’s truly what the Red River Showdown is all about.

Even after players finish their collegiate careers at their respective universities, the rivalry continues to live on when former Sooners and Longhorns come together.

The likelihood of seeing this during next week’s XFL draft is highly likely.

In honor of the Red River Showdown, I want to highlight two former players from both universities and their success during this historical match-up, who are hoping to hear their name called come draft day.

JERROD HEARD

In 2015, Jerrod Heard stepped on the “40 acres” as a two time Texas state champion from Denton Guyer where he broke several records and was one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Prior to the season starting, Heard lost the quarterback competition against Tyrone Swoopes.  Only to replace Swoopes after a lopsided loss to Notre Dame to start the season.

Heard, continued to utilize his dual threat style of play against the Rice Owls and again against the Cal Golden Bears accounting for 527 yards of total offense, breaking former Texas quarterback Vince Young single game record in a 45-44 loss.

For his fourth career start, Heard had to face the #10 Oklahoma Sooners. Heard and the Texas Longhorns entered that game as underdogs, and head coach Charlie Strong was under immense pressure to win against their bitter rivals after losing two consecutive games.

With pressure at its highest, the freshman quarterback answered the call.

Heard only attempted 11 passes but threw a touchdown, and was able to utilize his running ability again being one of two Longhorns to run for over 100 yards, in their 24-17 victory over the 10th ranked Sooners.

The Longhorns finished that season with a 5-7 record. The Longhorns fired Strong and hired the hot commodity in coaching, Tom Herman.

Heard went on to finish his collegiate career at Texas as a wide receiver totaling 45 receptions 425 and 4 touchdowns.

RYAN BROYLES

Ryan Broyles – Credit

The two time All-American, real estate developer in Oklahoma, and now XFL hopeful, last played professional football in 2015.

Broyles, a product of Norman, played defensive back and wide receiver in High School, finished his career with 79 receptions 1,688 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and recorded 157 tackles and 20 interceptions on defense. He was named OCA All-State in football, and also a standout in track and field being one of the state’s top performers in high jump.

The instant he suited up for the Sooners he was a star, recording 7 receptions and 141 yards, both freshman school records, against the University of Cincinnati. He finished the 2008 season setting multiple freshman records, including tying the record for receptions in a lone season (46) and receiving yards (687) and touchdowns (6).

In his sophomore season he recorded 76 receptions for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the season finale in the Sun Bowl vs Stanford Broyles received the honor of being name Sun Bowl MVP after totaling 13 catches for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Although Broyles was highly productive , his stats against the Longhorns were not as impressive as they were against other teams.

In 2008,  the Sooners lost to the Longhorns 45-35. He recorded 5 receptions for 36 yards and 1 TD. In 2009, the Sooners lost to the Longhorns again in a close game 16-13. He recorded 2 receptions for 33 yards and 1 TD. (Lowest receptions recorded playing Texas) In 2010,  his Sooners finally got the “monkey off their back” and beat the Longhorns, but Broyles only recorded 5 receptions for 36 yards and 1 touchdown.

Keep in mind 2010 was the best year he had statistically, leading the FBS in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He also entered the season as a preseason All-American and finished the season first team All-Big 12.

In 2011, he flipped the script.

Broyles went off for a game-high nine receptions for 122 yards and 1 touchdown against Texas leading his team to a 55-17 victory against the Longhorns.

He went on to finish his career breaking the record for career receptions in the FBS, recording 349 receptions (now 3rd) and receiving, recording 4,586 yards (now 3rd).  His record of 4,586 yards still stands as the most yards ever recorded by a receiver in the Big 12.

Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft (54th overall), Broyles played two full seasons with the Lions, and in 2015 decided to focus on life outside of football.

Broyles has elected to come out of retirement to enlist his services to one of the eight teams in the XFL, and I am sure he will find a home where he can have just as much impact on his new team as he did when he played for the University of Oklahoma.

In conclusion, this rivalry has provided more than exciting moments in football history, elite talent, and intense battles for the golden hat.

A trophy? No. This is much more than a trophy. This is about the chance to dig at your arch nemesis each and every year. This is about being able to say “my team got the better of your team” for the next 365 days.

I am sure the two players I highlighted, are prepared to bring that same intensity from their collegiate rivalry to the XFL.

One comment on “The eyes of Texas are upon the XFL

  • Dean Gulberry says:

    Nit picking but 2015 was not Strong’s final season – he was dismissed after the 2016 season.

Comments are closed.