Stout and Apo Join with Heaps

Thursday's press conference was advertised as being for Jake Heaps. The press releases were for Heaps and the talk was about Heaps, but for Heaps, it was very important to bring two other top-flight recruits with him. Those recruits were Zac Stout and Ross Apo, who both joined with Heaps in committing to BYU on Thursday.

There was plenty of buzz and subsequent leaks that Jake Heaps would be joined by two other top prospects that would in turn commit with him to BYU. When Ross Apo walked up to the press table grinning from ear-to-ear, a spontaneous eruption ensued.

"Oh man, that was awesome," said Apo about the experience. "I didn't really know what to expect, but I was excited. This whole thing is very exciting for me and for my family."

Apo is a 6-foot-4-inch, 195-pound wide receiver recruit that has long been the buzz of BYU's camps and most other camps that he attended. He hails from Oakridge High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.

After stating a few prepared words Apo then introduced the third subject of Thursday's press conference, Zac Stout. Stout hails from Southern California powerhouse Oaks Christian, which ironically will be taking on Heap's Skyline High School this season.

"This was a great way to do it," said Stout following the press conference. "I decided on BYU and Jake helped for sure. This is the first time I've ever met or talked with Ross, but wow, I'm glad he's coming to BYU. This is just a great day for all of us."

Heaps said it was never his intent to go about the press conference alone. Inviting both Apo and Stout to the press conference to share the limelight was evidence that he very much wants the top LDS talent to be at BYU with him in order to reach the goals he's set for himself.

"I can't do it alone, no one can," said Heaps. "I need these guys, I need other guys and I need the guys that are already in the program."

Heaps felt it was a necessary gesture and perhaps an effort to get the leg up and demonstrate the necessity of being a team player while rallying teammates toward a certain goal.

As a hopeful starting Cougar quarterback, Heaps will be the main focus of the team as is almost always the case for most college football teams, but especially so at BYU. As the quarterback, it's necessary to be a leader in addition to someone that breeds respect among his teammates. So far it appears as if Heaps has all those qualities in spades.

"He just started texting me back during the Super Bowl and I instantly liked the guy," said Apo regarding his first contact with Heaps. "He just talked to me like any other guy and we became friends really fast. We didn't really even talk about going to BYU together until this past week, but having him as a future teammate really helped my decision."

Apo had given a verbal commit to powerhouse Texas earlier this past spring, but when it came down to it Apo just couldn't stop thinking about BYU and that it was the right place for him.

"I've always liked BYU," acknowledged Apo. "I just couldn't stop thinking that BYU was the right place for me even after I committed to Texas. I sort of knew that I'd change my mind."

Apo did indeed change his mind, and the primary reason he gave for that decision was that BYU was simply a good environment for him.

"That's the main thing," said Apo regarding BYU's environment. "I know that I'll stay out of trouble there and it will be the place where I can grow. I feel comfortable there, more than I feel comfortable at Texas. That's the main reason."

Heaps is well aware of Apo's abilities and stated that he believes Apo to be the top wide receiver prospect in the nation currently.

"I just saw film on the guy and he's exactly the type of receiver I want to be throwing to in college," said Heaps. "I started out just wanting to get to know him, but wow, having the opportunity to play with talent like that is what you want. His size, his stop-and-go ability, his leaping ability, his hands, everything about him just makes up the perfect receiver in my mind."

For Apo, BYU's offense - which will likely be headed by Heaps in the coming years - was a huge attraction.

"I know that I can play in that offense pretty quick and it's well-suited for my abilities," noted Apo. "And to have Jake, who is the best quarterback recruit in the country, throwing me the football is like a dream come true."

Heaps eloquently stated in the press conference that he was well-aware that football is played on both sides of the ball and that attracting top defensive talent is at least as important as attracting the top offensive talent around the country.

Enter Zac Stout, who has starred at middle linebacker for Oaks Christian, and it would seem as if at least one of the 11 positions on defense is being properly addressed by his commitment.

"Zac is a quiet leader," noted Heaps. "I love how he goes about his business. He just has a quiet intensity about him on the field that I just love to watch. He's the top middle linebacker in the country as far as I'm concerned and he'll do his part in making BYU a top defensive school while me and Ross and so many others are doing our best on the other side of the ball."

Stout was pretty much focused on BYU from the very beginning of the recruiting process despite receiving numerous other offers from top Pac-10 programs and others.

"From day-one when they started recruiting me I sort of knew I'd end up here," said Stout about BYU. "I've always loved their program and I'm sort of just a BYU kid pretty much, so yeah, it was a perfect fit."

Stout has been recruited mostly by assistant coach Barry Lamb, who Stout immediately took a liking to.

"Coach Lamb is awesome. He's a great guy and a great coach," noted Stout. "I love all the coaches there at BYU. I love their tradition and I'm going to work as hard as I can to bring back the tough defensive tradition that BYU should have. We have the pieces and we're on our way. I just can't wait to get going."

"Zac is a leader," said Heaps about his future teammate. "I became good friends with him quite a while ago and I feel we're very similar with how we approach the game. He's going to be a leader on defense and he's a tremendous talent and I hope he takes it easy on me when we play him this coming season."


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