Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney running back Braylon Heard grew up a fan of Reggie Bush when the latter was playing his college ball at Southern Cal. So when it came down to choosing a college, he wanted to go someplace where he could be utilized like his idol. He found that fit in West Virginia.
"I committed Tuesday," said the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder who plays for one of the top programs in the state of Ohio. "I spoke to my coach and the coaches at West Virginia and everyone was happy. I'm excited to be done with the process so I can now focus on the season."
Heard, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and nine scores as a junior, chose West Virginia over offers from Penn State, Pitt, NC State, Michigan State, Nebraska and others. The coaches and the way he fit in the offense were the keys.
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"I really hit it off with coach Beatty (running backs coach Chris Beatty and the rest of the coaches," he said. "The people at West Virginia were great. I liked coach Beatty a lot and feel I can learn from him. I even ran into a super fan who knew everything about the program and knew who I was. The fan support there is great.
"As far as the offense, I like the way they use their running backs," he said. "I can do a lot of different things and be in space. I have watched Noel Devine and he's one fast back. It will be fun being in that offense. They run a lot of the same offense that we do at Mooney.
"I grew up a USC fan because of Reggie Bush and loved the way they used him and West Virginia does a lot of those things."
Heard will also be only two hours from home, another factor.
"It's a bonus because I can get back and forth easily," he said. "West Virginia pretty much had everything I wanted."
Heard is ranked as the No. 19 running back in the country by Rivals.com and is a member of the Rivals250. He had more than 20 offers from major programs.