For Heaps, Kansas felt right

On Dec. 5, when Jake Heaps announced his intention to transfer from Brigham Young University in pursuit of a new opportunity, he didn't expect to be boarding a plane for Kansas less than two weeks later.

Of course he, like the rest of the free world, didn't expect Charlie Weis to be named head coach of the Jayhawks either. And for him, that was the first brick to fall into place on the road that would, in short order, lead Jake Heaps to Lawrence, Kan.

He immediately got the ball rolling, reaching out to Kansas, and the rest pretty much took care of itself.

"Next thing I know, I've got Coach Weis on my cell phone trying to get me to come out on a visit," Heaps said.

So to say Weis played a big role in his interest in the Kansas program is something of an understatement.

As a prep star at Sammamish (WA) Skyline High school, Heaps was rated a five-star prospect by and the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country. It should come as no surprise that he was recruited by…well…just about everyone.

That included Charlie Weis and the University of Notre Dame, and during the recruiting process the two developed a strong relationship. Though the Fighting Irish did not ultimately make his Top 3, Weis and quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus still stuck out in his mind.

So when the two reunited at Kansas, and Kansas was in need of a quarterback, right off the bat the situation seemed to fit.

"(It is) a very rare opportunity to now get recruited by somebody that you're familiars with, and they're familiar with you," Heaps said.

Once the two had spoken, it didn't take long to get an official visit scheduled. They settled on the weekend of Dec. 16, and Heaps packed his bags.

Here's the thing though. Yeah, it may have been the chance to develop under Weis that enticed him to Lawrence in the first place. And, yes, as a first time visitor to the Sunflower State, maybe he had some preconceived notions as to what he would find planed inside his head.

But something unexpected happened almost immediately upon his arrival.

"The moment I got off the plane, it felt right," Heaps said. "Through prayer and all that kind of stuff, it just felt right."

As a married man, though Heaps made the visit alone he was also scouting with an eye toward the preferences of his wife, Brooke, as well. Would Lawrence suit her as well as him? Would it be a good environment for the two of them as a family?

Unexpectedly, Lawrence offered everything they were looking for - a small-town college feel in a town that really isn't so small. And the more he looked, the more he found he loved about the football program, the facilities, the school and the community.

By the time he left, a decision was already beginning to solidify in his mind. Kansas seemed like a great fit, but he wanted to give himself some time to cool off, and look at things through eyes not still glazed over by the excitement a visit brings.

"Sometimes that happens, you get caught up in the moment and just make a decision on impulse," Heaps said. "I wanted to make sure I'd done my research on all the other schools that were out there."

And, of course, he needed to talk things over with Brooke.

"She has total faith in me," Heaps said. "She's been a huge blessing in my life and has helped me handle the situations that have transpired, and she gets it. She understands what is required of me and what I need to do in order to be successful, and is 110-percent supportive."

Late in the morning of Dec. 22, news broke that another high-profile transfer, Notre Dame's Dayne Crist, had committed to Kansas - and for Heaps, that was the final piece of the puzzle.

"I think the cherry on top was Dayne calling me early in the morning saying 'Hey man, I committed to Kansas,'" he said. "On everything, it just felt right. It was just the right decision for me and I'm really excited."

So later that day, Heaps made public his own decision to join the Kansas football program. When the first team meeting takes place Dec. 15th, he'll be there. He and Brooke will be transitioning to life in Lawrence - a new school, a new football program, a new community. A fresh start.

And he couldn't be more excited.

"They've had success there," Heaps said. "It's capable of happening there. And I think with Coach Weis and myself and Dayne Crist and the rest of the guys on this program - there are some very talented football players - I think Coach Weis will make all the difference." Top Stories