"Yeah, it was an amazing trip and I really had a blast," said Heaps. "I was able to go down and hang out with my sister and brother-in-law and check out BYU. I was able to learn a bunch of different things and was really enjoying the time I had down there for sure."
Together, the family strolled along the sidelines while Max Hall and the boys worked on polishing up their game. This was the first time since committing to BYU that Heaps watched the Cougars practice.
"When I committed to BYU I was really excited to play for a great university and a great program," said Heaps. "To be able to watch them in action being committed was awesome. It was really a great experience being able to go out there and talk to all the guys. All these guys are great players and at this point I'm just really excited for my season and what I'll be able to do for my team before coming to BYU in January."
While on his trip to BYU, Heaps was struck by how the football program operates.
"What's most impressive to me about BYU is how efficient they are during practice and film study," said Heaps. "They get so much done is such a short amount of time, it's amazing, and here they are a top-25 program and they aren't killing themselves at practice with three-hour practices. They just seem to get the most out of the least and that's very impressive in my mind. They just get down to business both on the practice field and in the film room, and that's what I love about BYU and how they get down to business. When you see them on the football field it's time to work and be on your best game, and that's what I've seen how it is in the film room. It's exciting to know that I'll be a part of that."
Currently, BYU's recruiting class is ranked among those of some of the top programs in the country by evaluators at Scout, and Heaps' commitment is a good reason why. It's a top rated recruiting class that complements a recruiting class considered one of the best last year, and for Heaps that's an exciting trend.
"Yeah, it's amazing and I'm loving it," Heaps said. "I'm just really excited to be a part of it. I don't think BYU has ever had a top-10 recruiting class, if not in a long time, so it's been really fun and there are a lot of great guys in this class and we're just trying to add to the firepower that's already there at BYU. Being out there and watching the team run through practice, they look really good. This team, you can just see the fire in these guys' eyes and you can just tell they want this year really badly. It's really exciting and I can't wait to see how it plays out for them."
Back in the 80s and early 90s, BYU was a top-flight destination for many top-rated LDS kids that wanted to play football at the college level. Over the past couple of years, BYU lost many recruiting battles to the Pac-10 and other conferences. But over the past two years, BYU has also beaten out Ohio State, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Washington, LSU, Florida State, USC, Tennessee, Georgia and other top college football programs for the services of LDS athletes.
"This year I think we've been able to do a great job of getting our message out there and explaining what BYU is all about, clearing the air and being able to get everything out there up front," said Heaps. "It's really just telling people what we expect and what we feel is going to happen out there, and a lot of other players have really responded to it. These guys have the same drive I do and want to come in and really add to BYU's program. It's a program where they can come here and be themselves and be a part of a high-level program."
For Heaps, who had been all around the country investigating various college programs and had been courted by the nation's highest-profile coaches, BYU isn't a place that is solely conducive to just LDS kids. He feels BYU is a place for everyone, whether LDS or not, looking to live their higher standards.
"What BYU brings is, a chance to live a clean lifestyle that they want to live," said Heaps. "There are a lot of non-LDS kids that have a lot of same attitudes and standards in their own lives, and so BYU is a great place where that person, regardless of religion, can come and live their lifestyle without having to prove yourself or feeling you have to fit in socially. That's the great environment that's had at BYU. You can be whoever you want to be and everyone will accept you. All you have to do is live by those standards and live a clean and respectable life and that's all they're asking as a university."
In the past, LDS athletes may have chosen to go to other colleges because of the perception that if they go to BYU they will be pressured to serve a mission. As an athlete that does not have mission plans in his near future, Heaps feels BYU is the best place for such an athlete, and this is one reason why he chose BYU.
"If you don't want to serve a mission, BYU is the perfect place for you," said Heaps. "It's a place where you can live your lifestyle regardless if you're going to serve a mission or not. I will say this, I'm a kid that's not going to go on a mission. If there is a time where I feel like I need to go then I'll go, but my feeling right now is I'm not going to go. I have a great opportunity to come in and compete and be a part of BYU stands for.
"There's a great misconception that if you come to BYU you have to serve a mission and there's a huge pressure there. I never once felt that pressure, but I think there is a perception among some LDS kids where they feel this might be the case, but in my mind I think if you don't want to serve a mission BYU would be a great place to go because it is a place where you're surrounded by your standards. I think a lot of LDS kids would better understand that if they would just open their hearts and not try and guard themselves when they go out there."
Outside linebacker Brian Kehl was the only linebacker drafted by the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants two years ago. Cougar wide receiver Austin Collie as drafted by the Indianapolis Colts this year and has impressed fans, the coaching staff and fellow teammates during preseason play. Heaps feels BYU is a place where one can live their lifestyle, be in an established top college football program and reach their NFL goals.
"Some kids feel they have to go to the Floridas and the Oklahomas of the world in order to reach a higher goal of going to the NFL," said Heaps. "I'm telling you, BYU is one of the hottest up-and-coming programs in the country right now and it has been ever since Coach Mendenhall has been there. The sky's the limit with this program right now and the coaches are excited about each and every year because of the level of talent they're bringing in every year. This program is already established and has proven itself."