By DeBartolo Sports Staff Writer
BOSTON - After an intense training filled off-season, Nick Heras has high hopes for this fall.
Probably like so many others kids, Nick Heras was in third grade, hanging out with a buddy whose brother was QB for the high school team, when his love of football first surfaced. He tried other sports, but soon learned to love the intensity of the build up to that one game in any week that football offers, compared to those sports where you play almost every day.
He’s often asked why he wanted to become a quarterback. He started off as a lineman, but is excited by the responsibility of the pivotal position, trusted by others to dictate the flow of the game, or as he calls it “being the guy”. Nick identifies his strengths as being tough enough to get up again after being hit hard, but also accepts that he still has to learn more from the mistakes he makes.
Making the commitment
Tennis star Andy Murray left his family home in Scotland as a young teen to live and work at a tennis camp in Spain, simply because he had identified the sacrifice that had to be made to reach the standard he craved. So it was with a 14-year-old Nick Heras and his developing dream of becoming a star quarterback. He left his family home in Boston, MA to attend a private school in Florida. It cost realtor father Nick Sr. and his wife more than $50,000 a year to enable their young son (who has three sisters) to attend an elite athletic program in Florida. The intensity came as an initial shock, but the young Heras thrived on the effort demanded of him, knowing that when you see the top star in any sports team you are also usually looking at the hardest worker.
After a short time in Florida, Nick made a difficult decision to return home and be near his close knit family. He enrolled at Newton South High School (Newton, MA) and joined the football program for the 2012 season. In his first season of varsity experience, he led the team to a 3-8 record. This was a remarkable achievement considering the team had only won one game in the two seasons prior.
The following spring, at a football camp in Boston, Nick reconnected with Joe Dickinson, a QB coach that he had spent some time with as a youth. Nick would go on to spend that spring and summer preparing with Coach Dickinson for what he anticipated would be a breakout year. The season started off with Newton South winning 2 of the first 3 games in impressive fashion. Shortly after the fast start, Nick suffered an injury that would sideline him for the rest of the 2013 season.
Nick’s performance throughout those few games was enough to earn himself an invite to the US Army National Combine in January of 2014. This event features five hundred of the Nation’s top underclassmen and is part of the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas – you may have caught it on NBC.
Nick appreciated how special was the opportunity to be around other top quarterbacks and discover how to improve as player. As he said at the time: “It’s an honor to be invited to a national event like this and be recognized next to the top athletes from around the country and be able to show what you can do.”
Catching an expert eye
DeBartolo Sports quarterback coach Joe Dickinson knows a thing or two about upcoming stars in what is arguably the most challenging position in football. Troy Aikman has benefited from Joe Dickinson's coaching, as has Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley and so many more. Joe has worked with all three, and dozens of other recognizable names, and is vetted by many college and NFL coaches as one of the most talented QB developers in the game. He leads the DeBartolo QB Club, where aspiring quarterback’s benefit from year-round intensive one-to-one and small group quarterback training. These will be key steps on the pathway to becoming the next Aikman.
Or the next Heras, because, even at this early stage, Joe really likes what he sees in young Nick. He claims Nick is currently the top dual threat quarterback from the Boston area. Although there was a setback when he broke his hand and missed the second half of the 2013 season, Joe had already noted that: “He was very impressive early on”. It’s touted that both Boston College and Dartmouth are keenly monitoring his progress.
Working together, as Nick is a frequent and enthusiastic visitor to Joe Dickinson’s training camps, they are preparing for what they both know will be an important season in Nick's football career. There's a great chance that the total commitment of the eager pupil and the experience of the teacher can combine to create a pathway to future greatness.
Nick will enroll this fall at New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire. He is back to 100% and in the best physical shape he has ever been in. His expectations are high for the coming season. He says his time with Coach Dickinson this spring/summer was “time well spent” and that he is really “spinning the ball”.