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A former Rebel player and graduate assistant, Heard is at his fourth stop with Freeze, having served as his quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator at Arkansas State, offensive coordinator at Lambuth and graduate assistant at Ole Miss.
Recruiting and developing talent at a high level since he arrived in Oxford, Heard has helped stockpile the Rebel receiving corps into one of the deepest and most talented in the country, led by preseason All-American Laquon Treadwell.
The Rebels set a school record with four straight games boasting a 100-yard receiver last fall, a stretch that included 100-yard receiving games from Treadwell, Vince Sanders and Cody Core.
Having to replace Donte Moncrief, now a member of the Indianapolis Colts, Heard helped Ole Miss rank seventh in the SEC in total offense (443.3 ypg) and fourth in passing offense (275.6 ypg) in 2014.
Ole Miss was the only SEC school to place three receivers in the top 12 in touchdown catches, led by Sanders and Core with six each, followed by Treadwell with five. Sanders moved up to ninth in school history with 11 career touchdown catches and 17th with 107 career receptions.
Treadwell was on his way to a record-breaking season before suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle against Auburn. Despite the injury, he still ranked among the SEC’s best in receptions per game (5.3) and receiving yards per game (70.2). In just two seasons, he ranks 13th in school history with 120 career receptions and tied for seventh with three career 100-yard receiving games.
Ole Miss wide receivers flourished in 2013 as Treadwell (5.58) and Moncrief (4.42) each ranked inside the top eight of the SEC in receptions per game, and Moncrief was No. 6 in the SEC in receiving yards per game (68.8).
As a team, Ole Miss broke school records for total offense (473.3 ypg), pass completions (310) and pass attempts (490) in 2013. The Rebels ranked third in the SEC in passing offense (283.3 ypg) and fifth in total offense, while finishing top 25 in the NCAA in both categories.
Treadwell, the 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year, had the best rookie campaign by an Ole Miss receiver in program history, setting freshman records in catches (67), receiving yards (557) and touchdown catches (5). Treadwell led all freshman receivers in the SEC in catches, yards and touchdowns and broke the Ole Miss freshman record with nine catches at Vanderbilt in his first game wearing a Rebel uniform.
Moncrief declared for the NFL Draft after his junior year and finished his career in the top three in school history in catches, yards and touchdowns by a receiver. He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 90th overall pick (third round).
In 2012, with many of the same faces at receiver as the previous year, Heard helped turn the Rebel offense around, improving the team’s passing average from 173.3 yards per game in 2011 to 249.9 in 2012.
Heard also helped turn Moncrief into a superstar during his sophomore campaign, as he averaged 75.3 yards per game (fifth-best in the SEC) with 10 touchdowns, tying the school record for TD catches in a season.
Heard helped Arkansas State to a record-breaking year in 2011 led by his star pupil, Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Aplin. The junior quarterback established school single-season records for total offense and passing yards per game while ranking No. 10 in the nation in total offense.
Heard’s passing attack ranked 16th in the nation, and the Red Wolves were 24th in total offense en route to a Sun Belt championship and an appearance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Heard spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as the offensive coordinator at Lambuth. During the 2008 campaign, the Eagles offense accumulated 5,861 yards while becoming the No. 1 offense in NAIA. Lambuth finished third in the nation in scoring offense and fourth in passing efficiency.
A wide receiver during his collegiate career (1996-2000), Heard helped lead Ole Miss to four bowl games and graduated as the Rebels’ all-time leader in career receptions and touchdowns. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2001.
Following his college days, Heard was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002 and sent to play in NFL Europe. In 2001, he appeared in several preseason games for the San Francisco 49ers.
Heard began his coaching career as the quarterbacks, wide receivers and special teams coach at Jackson (Miss.) Preparatory High School in 2002 before moving on to Hargrave Military Academy where he coached wide receivers and helped them to an 8-1 record in 2003. He joined the college ranks in 2004 as an offensive graduate assistant at N.C. State.
He returned to Ole Miss as an offensive graduate assistant in 2005-06, when he assisted in coaching the receivers and tight ends. He tutored future NFL players Mike Wallace, Shay Hodge, Marshay Green, Mike Espy and Taye Biddle.
Heard spent the 2007 season with Western Michigan coaching the Broncos’ wide receivers. He mentored First Team All-MAC honoree Jamarko Simmons, the 15th-ranked receiver in the nation, and the receiving corps gained over 3,000 yards and scored 23 touchdowns.
Heard is married to the former Renata Nowacki, who was a four-year letterwinner on the Ole Miss volleyball team (1997-2000), and the couple has a son, Jayden, and a daughter, Avery. Heard’s brother Ronnie was also a standout for the Rebel football team and in the NFL.
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