Sophomore QB Heaps Will be Known

LDS quarterback Jake Heaps is racking up many scholarship offers from quality football programs. It could be only a matter of time before this humble pigskin-slinger becomes known nationally.

Jake Heaps is the type of player that college coaches covet; he's talented, smart, a team player, possesses high moral standards and is humble and teachable, which is exactly why BYU coaches - and many Pac-10 coaches - value his services. Heaps currently has offers from a number of other schools.

"I have offers from UCLA and they're a program that will be on the rise with Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow," said the 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound Heaps. "That will be a team that will get better each and every year. It would be great to play under a great offensive mind in Norm Chow.

"Then there is Washington State University and that's a program that's just trying to find their way. They have a great coach in Coach Wulff. They run an offense that's similar to mine. They run a no-huddle, spread offense, and that's kind of intriguing.

"Then there is Oregon State, and I really like Coach Riley and his staff. They're a really good group of guys and have high character, and they also have a really good-looking offense. What I didn't know is they are the second-winningest team in the Pac-10 for the past two years behind USC, so that's interesting.

"Then Stanford is another university that has offered me and they have a great coach in Harbough. You know, it's just been a great honor to get a scholarship from all of these great quarterback schools at such an early age. I couldn't be more thankful and more appreciative. Each and every offer humbled me."

Heaps also has an offer from the Husky coaching staff at the University of Washington, and is impressed with the demeanor of the program's head coach.

"Coach Willingham is a high-character person and you can see that in the way he carries himself and his family," Heaps said. "I have nothing but respect for it. He's a great guy and he and Coach Mendenhall are both very wise men. They are two people that I could see myself learning from and having no problem being coached by for four or five years."

Heaps also has a full-ride scholarship offer from his church's college in BYU. During the Cougars' spring camp, Heaps and his father paid a visit to the Provo campus.

"When we went down there to BYU, we had a wonderful time," Heaps said. "When I first came in and saw those gorgeous mountains above the university with the snow on them [it] was great. It was kind of my first impression of how my trip to BYU was going to be."

During his visit to BYU, Heaps met with Coach Doman, whom he's become very close to.

"I had a great time talking with Coach Doman," Heaps said. "I just have a great relationship with Coach Doman and he's such a wonderful guy. He's also a great coach and is somebody that I would love to play for."

Heaps also met with BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

"I met with Coach Mendenhall as well, but my visit with him wasn't really about football," said Heaps. "It was more about what I could do there and what was in store for me, and what kind of an impact I could have on the community. It was just a real eye-opener for me and I just had a wonderful time. It was such a great experience, and after the trip I was really excited and excited about BYU."

Heaps' trip to BYU with his father left high praises on the heart of this young quarterback. He was able to attend a spring practice within one of the nation's largest indoor football practice facilities.

"I couldn't have asked for more out of the trip," Heaps said. "It was such a great time and I really liked watching spring practice. Their layout of the practice is just awesome and they were able to get so much done in such a short period of time. There is no wasted motion and they just fly around everywhere. It was a great style of practice and was something that really intrigued me. I liked how the coaches interacted with the players and could see that it was a real teaching period for every player. You could see how they just got better and better after each practice."

While on the sidelines watching the Cougar offense go to work, Heaps pictured himself in the role of quarterback as he watched and learned from Max Hall.

"That's kind of the mindset that I had while going down there," Heaps said. "If I was playing for BYU, could I live down here for four to five years? When I was there, I got the feeling that I could. I could definitely see myself playing for the BYU Cougars and being a part of the university."

Heaps studied Hall's performance and style on the practice field with the intent to further develop his own game.

"He's a person that I've studied and watched to learn how I can get better," said Heaps. "I tried to take away things from him that I can use to better myself. The way a quarterback gets better is by watching the best play and taking the positives and putting them in your own game."

Heaps was also able to attend the quarterbacks meeting, where he was able to see how Coach Doman conducted the meeting and instructed his charges.

"The relationship [Coach Doman] has with his players just seemed like a lot of fun," said Heaps. "You can really see how his players learned and just got better. It was just a great experience for me.

"I didn't get a chance to talk with Max as much as I wanted to. When I was in the quarterback meetings, you could just see how bad he wants it for his team. You can see how bad he wants to reach the top. He's a great leader and has such a great relationship with Coach Doman. They joke around, but at the same time when it comes time for business, they focus and get nothing but productivity out of their practices and meetings."

Heaps also had the privilege of meeting LDS General Authority and BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson, a privilege that has occurred for many BYU football players in the past.

"It was a great experience for me," said Heaps with a tone of excitement in his voice. "I know [President Samuelson's] a General Authority, so it was a really cool experience for me. It's such a great aspect about BYU and what I really love about it. I came away with nothing but positive feelings. Me and my dad both had a really good feeling about it after we left. It couldn't have gone any better."

The depth and occurrence of spiritual opportunities and growth at BYU make the university vastly unique from any other in the country for LDS football players. Heaps feels that the principles and standards found within the LDS faith can be further demonstrated on a larger stage through the means of successful football.

"Having a good program at a university like BYU, people will ask questions," said Heaps. "The greater the success of the program, the more people will be exposed to the greater side of the LDS people. That is a great aspect about BYU and I'm sure that's something that drives many of the players to bring up this program in success.

"You know, of course they want to win another national championship and bring back the glory of BYU football, but I also think there is a bigger picture that goes along with it as well. I think just about ever aspect of the university itself ties into a bigger picture, and for people like us that's something that we can appreciate. It's also something that intrigues me as a football player, to be able to represent a football program of high character. It's such an honor for me to know that I could be one of those people."

Although Heaps has a full-ride scholarship offer to be a future flag bearer for BYU's football program, he also has many offers and feels every one is an honor.

"When I got back and looked at all of my scholarship offers, every single one of them is a complete honor," Heaps said in humility. "Every single one of them are from a great school, and each one of them has something that makes them different. BYU has a religious aspect about the university that's very humbling."

Knowing that he is just one piece, Heaps will take an inner look to see how he will fit within the puzzle of each university that has offered him a scholarship.

"Here I am - just a piece - and I'm just trying to find that perfect match to see what puzzle I fit in with best," said Heaps. "Right now, I'm enjoying the process and enjoying everything. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens and fortunately I still have time to watch to see how each team plays."


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