Coach's Corner

So Jake Heaps makes his decision to go to BYU. He could have named his school and had offers from just about every major program in the country. He chose the one school that represents his religious upbringing and it should not have been a surprise to anyone. Washington and coach Steve Sarkisian didn't lose this kid; he simply decided to go where he was already headed - BYU.

Scott Pelluer, who coached with me at Washington, told me months ago that this was likely to happen, and with Jake having a sister already living down there it seemed to make sense. Scott's son, Cooper, plays with Jake at Skyline and BYU had been on him for years.

Somehow, BYU has been able to communicate almost at will with him and they have done so through the church. The LDS is one of the fastest growing churches in the country and they are organized all the way down to the ward level. It is very difficult to beat them on a Mormon kid because they pull out all stops to keep their young in the fold. It is the same on a Catholic kid who has gone to Catholic schools all the way and when Notre Dame comes knocking they are really tough to beat.

Jake is a wonderful young man and a gifted athlete and a really good high school quarterback. Is he the best in the country? I don't know about that. He has never taken a snap in college football, but he has a great touch with all the passes and with physical maturity will no doubt improve his arm strength.

Is he the best quarterback to ever come out of this state? I don't think so. I have watched him play a number of times and I wouldn't rate him above Chris Chandler, Mark Rypien, Billy Joe Hobert, Cary Conklin, Drew Bledsoe and the Huard brothers in terms of arm strength and size. Those kids in high school were all more mature in their development and were all better all around athletes than he is.

Marques Tuiasosopo was a much better runner and overall athlete, as is Jake Locker. None of these guys had the style of offense nor the quality of receivers that Heaps has had and none threw the ball nearly as many times as he as already. Jake Heaps ranks right there with these guys but I'm not sure if we would have taken him over any of them simply because they were all more the pro type bodies and were simply bigger and stronger.

That is not to minimize the loss, but it does underscore the overall evaluation from the physical standpoint. My guess is he is probably a 4.8-4.9 speed guy. I thought that he reminded me a lot of the Moore kid who went to Boise State who Washington basically passed on because of Jake Locker.

The best part of about his decision at this time is that it opens up the Huskies' options and allows to them to actively pursue other QB prospects throughout the west. Washington needed to bring in at least one more quarterback and should consider two because they will only have three on scholarship next fall.

Recruiting top quarterbacks is a very delicate thing because you almost have to promise them that they will be the only one in a class in order to get them. This happened all the time with us and we found that even if you have a young QB on your roster, it often deters another from wanting to come in and compete. Quarterbacks want to be the "guy". They want to be promised that and everyone knows it.

This usually doesn't apply to BYU because they have their own "mission" exception written right into the NCAA rules. I have always believed that the deferred eligibility rule gives BYU an unfair advantage over every other school in the country. They have lots of their kids serve on church missions and when they do, the five years to play four rule is automatically waived. Where everyone else has 85 kids on scholarship, BYU has close to twice that many if you count the number of players who have enrolled, played a year, went to serve their mission and then came back to BYU.

When they return from serving their mission they are older, and I promise you kids mature a lot from 18 to 22. One year when we played them we went through their media guide and calculated that their average age was close to 24 years old. Our average age was 20. Now that is a huge advantage in maturity.

What other school in the country - or religion for that matter - has church missions that take place during a player's college career? Then there would be no need for the mission exception at all. Then everyone would be playing by the same set of rules. Now I realize that other colleges that sign LDS players also benefit from this rule but my point is any rule shouldn't give anyone an advantage, and this one does. Utah benefits greatly from it too, and they almost won a national championship last year. Whatever...

So the decision has been made and I thank Jake for doing so at this time because it allows the Huskies to focus on getting a quarterback for the future which is critical to any football program.

There are lots of kids every year that you think you have a great shot at only to have them tell you they have decided to go somewhere else. You can't worry about the ones you lose because you'd better concentrate on the ones you get. Washington has not done a consistently good job in recruiting for a long time and it shows in their win-loss record. That happens when you change coaches like underwear.

Coach Sarkisian made a strong run at a local kid and didn't get him. It happened to me with kids like Lake Dawson and Demitrius Dubose. Both ended up at Notre Dame, even though I felt we were going to get them. With Heaps, I never felt we were in the running until Sark came on board and he took a great shot at the kid. It should not, and will not be a factor in the success of his recruiting. Like I said, you win some and you lose some. The ones you win are the ones that count.

We'll know real soon because we play BYU three years in row starting in 2010. We should know by then just what kind of college quarterback Jake Heaps is. My guess is he'll be really good in their system. That is, of course unless he changes his mind and decides to serve his mission. Certainly had Sark been working him as long BYU, Washington would have had a better chance.

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