Darrius Heyward-Bey first began playing football as a freshman in high school. He played on the JV squad as a freshman and earned the attention of the coaches, albeit probably not in the way he envisioned.
“I was actually late for my first-ever practice,” Heyward-Bey said. “We had to run laps because of me. I was way ahead of the other guys and I wasn’t getting tired. I knew I had to make up for being late. Running laps was my fault, so I had to show the rest of the guys I was serious about playing. The coaches saw how fast I was and they were impressed.”
Though he possessed tremendous speed, Heyward-Bey did not see significant playing time until his junior season last year. McDonogh Head Coach Dominic Damico told him to practice hard following a sophomore season where he hardly saw the field.
“As a sophomore I didn’t see a lot of playing time because my hands weren’t that great,” Heyward-Bey said. “Coach Dom told me to work hard on my game and I could get more playing time the next season. I’m the type of guy that when someone says something like that, I’ll respond. I worked hard and had by far my best year last year.”
As a junior, Heyward-Bey made around 12 touchdown receptions according to Coach Damico. Over the past three years, the 6-3, 195 pound receiver feels he has improved significantly as a complete receiver. Heyward-Bey does acknowledge the areas he needs to improve as well.
“I think I have done real good for only playing football for three years,” Heyward-Bey said. “I’ve gotten used to it. Early on I used my speed to compensate for my lack of experience. My speed helps me so much out there. In the open field, I think I can out run anyone.
“I need to improve my route-running and catching the ball in traffic. Those are the only things I think I need to work on. My speed and size are all right.”
A physical specimen, Heyward-Bey certainly has the physical attributes and athleticism to impress any Division I-A college coach. In addition to size, he possesses a 40-inch vertical leap and was timed at 4.38 in the 40 yard dash during the Nike Combine in Charlottesville, Virginia. Coach Damico said Heyward-Bey has run a hand-timed 10.2 in the 100 meters.
Currently, 12 schools have officially offered scholarships. Included on that list are Alabama (Heyward-Bey ran a 4.4 flat during a recent camp), Boston College, Marshall, Maryland, Penn State, and Virginia. He lists no favorites...
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