Oregon received a surprise commitment today from Laney College defensive end/outside linebacker Eddie Heard. The news was first reported by the Oregon Football twitter account and later confirmed by GoDucks.com editor Rob Moseley.
OLB Eddie Heard has signed a financial aid agreement with Oregon, and is a four-to-play-three guy for the Ducks. Should be here this summer.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) June 6, 2014
Heard is a 6'4, 240 lbs outside lineback/defensive end who figures to fit in at the drop end position for the Ducks defense. He previously committed to Missouri on May 21 but it sounds like he has now signed with Oregon, effectively ending his recruitment by any other schools. He also considered Washington, Washington State, and California, among other. As Mosely mentions in his tweet, Heard should be on campus soon and will be eligible to play this fall, though he could also redshirt. Heard has four years to play three at Oregon.
In an article from a couple weeks ago, Scout.com west coast recruiting editor Brandon Huffman noted that Heard originally went to Laney College to play baseball in hopes of getting drafted. However, once there his interest in football returned and he started playing at outside linebacker after a growth spurt following his senior year in high school.
"I signed to play quarterback at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. My decision to not go to Pine Bluff was because I played two sports. There was some speculation that I could get drafted for baseball so I decided to stay here and play baseball. I originally went to Laney to play baseball," said Heard. "But I ended up playing football again."
It sounds like Oregon may have found a diamond in the rough. Missouri has shown a great ability in scouting and developing underrated defensive line prospects, and Heard also notes that USC, UCLA, Texas A&M, Miami and others had started recruiting him for the 2015 recruiting cycle. Given Oregon's available scholarships, and their need for defensive line depth, they were able to offer him an opportunity to come in and play in 2014.
You can watch some of Heard's highlights below.