Heaps Enjoys BYU Visit

The nation's top recruit for the 2010 class (according to Tom Lemming) took an unofficial visit to BYU last weekend while BYU was hosting a star-studded group of athletes, nearly all of which were LDS. Skyline High School quarterback Jake Heaps mingled with and was able to get to know many of the nation's top talent on a personal level.

It's not that often that such a high profile group of LDS athletes, like the that was grouped together last weekend at BYU, has an opportunity to come together. For junior quarterback Jake Heaps, having a chance to mingle with like-minded LDS athletes, even though they were a year ahead of him, was just too much of a great opportunity to pass up.

"The one thing was it was a very special thing to do," said Heaps. "This was a special opportunity for me to go and be among a group of players that was as special as this group of players that were being recruited by BYU in a class that was ahead of mine. I was on my own for an unofficial visit and we made sure that we didn't do anything that would put BYU in trouble or get me into trouble with the NCAA. I was there with my sister and my brother, who live in Orem, and my parents. I could do things with the group and kind of follow them around. It was kind of funny being the young kid in the group following them around on campus. Off campus I couldn't really do anything with them so I went over to my sister's house and visited with my sister and brother-in-law."

The athletes that were assembled for the official visit all have many things in common. For starters, they all understand the pressures of the recruiting process, and nearly all of them are LDS. The commonalities found among the group of LDS athletes helped them to quickly form a bond with each other in an environment that was conducive to their standards.

"There is no doubt that when we were just all hanging out, we were all just really comfortable and able to be ourselves," Heaps said. "I don't think there was any kid that felt like he had to be reserved about who he was. No one was holding back and everyone was at a place and in a social setting that allowed us to be who we really are. You really got a chance to know everyone for who they really are because the situation allowed for that. When you're comfortable where you are, you don't have to worry about being guarded. You can just be yourself and have fun."

Heaps has been to BYU on several occasions for unofficial visits, but this trip allowed him to see what it would be like on a social level at BYU, something he may not have experienced during a camp or even a Junior Day.

"It was such a fun trip and I've been to BYU a couple of times now, but this was a special trip for me," Heaps said. "I've gotten to know guys like Kyle Van Noy [and] Richard Wilson and had talked with Xavier [Su'afilo] on the phone a couple of times but finally got the chance to meet him. I got to meet Manti [Te'o] and Jrey [Galea'i] and Levi Te'o, and that was great. It was just a great group down there. I got to meet L.T. Filiaga and we all just gelled really well together. We had a lot of fun just being who we are and it was great to have that experience."

The group of recruits consisted of both committed BYU players and non-committed players. There were times when someone within the group would express his interest or desire for a non-committed player to commit to BYU, though no pressure was ever applied.

"Obviously we talked about things and give your two cents about playing together or where we want one another to play, but for the most part we all just got to know one another," said Heaps. "We all just kind of got a chance to see who we would be around if we all decided to come and play together. We all had a great time hanging out together. It will be interesting to see where guys like Manti Te'o and Xavier Su'afilo go if they don't decide to go to BYU."

The atmosphere during the weekend trip and the chemistry that was quickly formed among the players said more about the type of experiences they would have at BYU than any words could express.

"It was funny because we've all kind of known each other from different camps," Heaps recalled. "And then finally we all just had the chance to be together and hang out and we all just kind of clicked. The guys that had already committed didn't put any pressure on us but just wanted to show us what it would be like to be around one another. We all got along and enjoyed one another's personalities. Most of the time we were just laughing and having a good time. Coach Doman was there and we all had a lot of fun, and that's one of the things I love about Coach Doman. He's a guy that, although is a coach, is a guy that everyone loves and respects. It would just be a lot of fun to go to work for a man like Coach Doman, a man I really love and respect. I can't say enough about Coach Doman and the entire BYU staff. I've never seen a staff that enjoys being around each other and jokes around with one another as much as the coaching staff at BYU does. They're very personal, and yet at the same time when it's time to go, they're professional and business-like."

For Heaps, being able to be around a group of top LDS athletes who understood exactly what it was he was going through on a personal level was a breath of fresh air. It made his unofficial visit a memorable one, but being around Coach Mendenhall and Coach Doman on a personal level was also very meaningful for him.

"My highlight, other than hanging out with all the guys, was hanging out with Coach Doman and Coach Mendenhall," said Heaps. "I asked Coach Doman if we could break down some film together, and so we did. I was able to break down the pre-snap defense and was probably about 85-90 percent correct in determining what coverage the defense was in. I didn't know how I was going to do. I kind of surprised myself and I think I got Coach Doman excited a bit. It was a lot of fun being around him and I just think he is such a great person and coach. I have a lot of respect for him and love being around him because he's such a great person."

With one more year left to play at the high school level, Heaps is currently up to 18 scholarship offers. One has to expect that his scholarship offers will only increase following the upcoming signing day.

"The newer ones for me are LSU and Colorado ... I got one from Nebraska, Cal, Oregon State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Notre Dame, UCLA, Boise State, Washington State, Stanford, Duke, Minnesota, Arizona State, South Carolina and BYU. It's been fun and I've really enjoyed it. I'm grateful for the opportunities. I think I'm going to cut the list down a bit and come out with a top-10 within a week or two."

The question on every college football fan's mind is whether or not their favorite team will be on that list. BYU fans will just have to wait a couple of weeks to see if their program has made the first cut, and if the top recruit in the nation for the 2010 class has chosen BYU for his first list. Stay tuned BYU fans.

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