Making the cut is a running theme for cornerback Eddie Heckard. He made the cut at Desert Pines High in Las Vegas. He made the cut at Weber State as an FCS All-American. And so far, he is making the cut at BYU, which he hopes will prepare him to make the cut in the NFL.
Cougars on the air
BYU (2-2, 5-2)
at No. 8 Texas (3-1, 6-1)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT
DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM
“The scouts were telling me I should use my last year to go to the Power Five level so I could put more stock behind my name to try and get drafted,” said Heckard, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. Heckard transferred to Provo and reunited with former Weber State head coach Jay Hill, who is BYU’s defensive coordinator.
“(Hill) didn’t have to sell too much. I already trusted him to be here,” he said. “It was more what the scouts were telling me. I want to go to the NFL.”
These days, Heckard is making other cuts, too. The self-taught stylist is the unofficial team barber. He has trimmed the heads of dozens of teammates, including Kody Epps, Kam Garrett, Caleb Etienne, Paul Maile and Isaiah Glasker.
“(Teammate) Miles Davis knew I cut hair and I think he said something about it,” Heckard said. “I wasn’t going to tell anybody.”
Once word got out, though, business began to boom. There are times when the wait runs six players deep — all paying customers. The grad-transfer doesn’t work for free.
Heckard started cutting hair at the plea of a teammate during his freshman year at Weber State in 2018. It was more of a rescue mission than a planned event. The teammate tried to trim his own hair and it got out of hand.
Heckard, who now trims his own hair, saved the day and then he went to school on YouTube to learn everything he could about the cutting craft. He even compares it to playing defense.
“You are on the edge and you have to treat every down like it’s your last,” he said. “Once you make that cut (or decision), you have to be able to live with it.”
Sharp scissors make clean cuts, just as sharpness in the secondary is a requirement for clean play. Heckard leads by example. The veteran is a regular in the film room and a valued mentor on the field for a defense that ranks No. 3 in the NCAA in turnover margin (1.29) and No. 5 with 11 interceptions (Heckard has three).
“You are on the edge and you have to treat every down like it’s your last. Once you make that cut (or decision), you have to be able to live with it.” — BYU defensive back Eddie Heckard comparing cutting hair to defending receivers
“I tell the guys to trust in their preparation and keep playing no matter what happens,” Heckard said. “I gave up a big play (against Texas Tech) and I just kept playing and ended up with an interception and didn’t give up any more big plays. With the position we play, we have to keep a short memory. Whether you make a good play or a bad play, the next play is the most important.”
Heckard’s next play will come Saturday against No. 7 Texas (1:30 MDT, ABC). These are the kinds of moments he came to BYU to compete in.
“I know they have a lot of talent, and they have a good scheme and good coaches,” Heckard said of the heavily favored Longhorns. “We have to bring our ‘A-Game’ to come out on top, but it is possible because we have the same thing on this end.”
You can see Dave McCann’s interview with Eddie Heckard Saturday morning on BYUtv’s “Gameday” pregame show at 11:30 a.m., including why the Las Vegan chooses to play with “a poker face” in the secondary.