BY SPNW Staff 11:09AM 12/06/2011

Jake Heaps Might Find Fresh Start Impossible

Quarterback Jake Heaps, who spurned a football scholarship offer from the University of Washington two years ago and cast his lot with Brigham Young University, is leaving the Cougars effective Dec. 17 with the hopes of rejuvenating his career at another West Coast/Pac-12 school.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the 2009 Skyline High School (Issaquah) graduate, who threw for nearly 10,000 yards and 144 touchdowns as a prep while leading the Eagles to a pair of 4A state titles, likely transfer to one of four schools: Washington, Washington State, USC or California. Regardless of where Heaps winds up, the NCAA will require that he redshirt the 2012 season.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that former Seahawks’ head coach Jim L. Mora, who spent just one year with the franchise (2009) before he was fired and replaced by Pete Carroll, is on the short list to become head coach at UCLA, replacing Rick Neuheisel, fired last week.

Mora, whose father, Jim E. Mora, once served as an assistant at UCLA,  had two years remaining on in Seahawks contract. He worked as an NFL television analyst the past two years while continuing to reside in Bellevue. The younger Mora, also a former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons (2004-06), has coached just one year at the collegiate level, as a defensive assistant at Washington, his alma mater, in 1984.

Heaps started 16 games and played in 22 overall during his freshman and sophomore seasons at BYU. Heaps set BYU freshman passing records for yards, touchdowns and wins while starting the final 10 games as a true freshman in 2010.

The highlight of his BYU career came in the 2010 New Mexico Bowl, where he passed for 264 yards and four touchdowns to earn offensive MVP honors in a 52-24 victory over UTEP, coached by former Washington State head coach Mike Price.

According to the Deseret News, Heaps fell victim to a changing system at BYU. Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman decided he wanted the Cougars to be directed by an active, mobile quarterback, not Heaps’ forte. Heaps also took criticism for being unable to react quickly enough to opponents’ schemes and pressure. One columnist even opined that Heaps “has a fragile psyche.”

As Heaps prepared to exit Skyline, he had five colleges in mind: BYU, Washington, California, Tennessee and LSU. It ultimately came down to BYU and Washington, and Steve Sarkisian, just hired by UW, made signing Heaps a priority, even visiting Heaps within hours of his own introductory news conference on Dec. 8, 2008.

But by that time, BYU already offered Heaps a scholarship. Sarkisian ultimately lost Heaps when Taylor Barton, a former UW quarterback and Heaps’ coaching guru, advised Heaps to sign with the Cougars instead of the Huskies.

“It was very, very close,” said Skyline coach Mat Taylor said after Heaps made it official that he would attend BYU. “It was a very difficult decision for him. If he attended UW he would have been able to play in front of the Skyline community and his family, and he grew up a Husky his whole life. It was a very difficult decision for him.”

Although Washington is reportedly on Heaps’ short list now, the Huskies may no longer be in the market for him, given both Heaps’ flop at BYU and the rise to prominence of Keith Price, who set several Husky passing records this season (including 29 touchdown passes) and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Beyond Price’s gaudy passing numbers, he demonstrated the value that a mobile quarterback can bring to an offense, which Heaps apparently could not bring to the Cougars.

The key for Heaps will be finding a system that suits his talents. Given the kind of pass-happy offense in which he excelled at Skyline, Heaps might find Washington State, soon to be coached by spread-offense wizard Mike Leach, and USC most to his liking. The question is whether Heaps has what it takes to succeed at the Pac-12 level. He may have already answered that question.

Observed Jason Franchuck of the Provo (UT.) Daily Herald: “If Heaps thinks he’ll get a fresh start anywhere he is sadly mistaken. Anywhere he goes will be a tough haul to find a clean slate. His results here (BYU) will be his starting point elsewhere. Not even the greatest Heaps admirers should really think a Pac-12 Conference locker room (or wherever he ends up) is really going to kowtow to a once-renowned Mormon kid who couldn’t even cut it at BYU, which isn’t exactly carrying a Southeastern Conference gridiron reputation these days.”


YourThoughts

  • Jim from Kirkland

    Am I connecting too many dots here?  Mora Jr, who knows Heaps well, on short list at UCLA which is in need of a QB?  Hmmm… I think Jake knows exactly where he’s going contingent on UCLA hiring Mora.

    • Paulywog83

      That would be all to ironic for BYU fans. Ben Olson, who was the #1 QB recruit his senior year of high school, went to BYU then transferred to the “greener” pastures of UCLA, only to flop there.

  • Jim from Kirkland

    Am I connecting too many dots here?  Mora Jr, who knows Heaps well, on short list at UCLA which is in need of a QB?  Hmmm… I think Jake knows exactly where he’s going contingent on UCLA hiring Mora.

    • Paulywog83

      That would be all to ironic for BYU fans. Ben Olson, who was the #1 QB recruit his senior year of high school, went to BYU then transferred to the “greener” pastures of UCLA, only to flop there.

  • Bigk9

    Pee Wee Heaps was over-rated when he decided to call a stupid ‘press conference’ to announce he wanted to go to BYU, and is over-rated as a 3rd string QB now.
    The LAST thing the Huskies need is a pompous wash-out like Heaps. Kasem Williams made him look great at Skyline, and Heaps has been a disaster at BYU.
    BYU would not even compete in the PAC12. Just look at what Utah, their most hated rival, did to them this year, before getting beat-up in the PAC12.
    The kid is a double or triple-A QB at best. We don’t need him, and shows NEVER waste a scholarship on him.
    Just the fact he wants to transfer because he’s not staring says it all. The kid (and his parents) think he is far better than he is, and mde a huge mistake when they snubbed Sarkisian. In hindsight, thank God we got a great backup in Montana, who fights every practice to play more, than this dweeb who expects to be a star and isn’t even close.
    We have two 5-star ‘Elite 24′ QBs who are recruits that want to pay for Sark. We already have 3

  • Bigk9

    Pee Wee Heaps was over-rated when he decided to call a stupid ‘press conference’ to announce he wanted to go to BYU, and is over-rated as a 3rd string QB now.
    The LAST thing the Huskies need is a pompous wash-out like Heaps. Kasem Williams made him look great at Skyline, and Heaps has been a disaster at BYU.
    BYU would not even compete in the PAC12. Just look at what Utah, their most hated rival, did to them this year, before getting beat-up in the PAC12.
    The kid is a double or triple-A QB at best. We don’t need him, and shows NEVER waste a scholarship on him.
    Just the fact he wants to transfer because he’s not staring says it all. The kid (and his parents) think he is far better than he is, and mde a huge mistake when they snubbed Sarkisian. In hindsight, thank God we got a great backup in Montana, who fights every practice to play more, than this dweeb who expects to be a star and isn’t even close.
    We have two 5-star ‘Elite 24′ QBs who are recruits that want to pay for Sark. We already have 3

  • Anonymous

    One thing in the article is false.  Doman (BYU OC) reworked the entire offense in the off season to play to the strengths of Heaps.  It included more straight up passing in the pocket.  Heaps was taking far more snaps under center than most BYU QB’s have done in the past.  Jake’s performance –or lack of– had nothing to do with him not fitting into BYU’s system.  He was a local celebrity deemed football’s version of Jimmer. The problem was simply that he didn’t perform on the field.  In the first 4 games of this season, he had just one touchdown in each game.  His throws missed open receivers, if a defender got within 5 yrds he folded like an old lawn chair, and never won the leadership role.  His teammates struggled to see him as their leader especially after referring to them as “those guys” in post game interviews (as if he wasn’t part of them or nothing he did contributed to problems).  Whether he was arrogant in person or not, he sure came across that way in public.  It was suggested he redshirt next year to mature and grow then still have 2 good years after Nelson graduates.  Several other BYU QB’s have done that following their soph. year– ever hear of Jim McMahon? 

    In my opinion, Jake had been promoted as the QB savior since he was 10 yrs old and never had to compete for the starting position.  He was honestly flabbergasted when he was pulled from the Utah St. game which saw Nelson rally for the come from behind win.  He didn’t know what to do with the situation and showed no willingness to dig deep and fight to be the starter.  Coaches gave him every opportunity in the world to be successful but at some point you have to go with who’s performing on the field and winning the games.   Were there mistakes by the young coaching staff?  Certainly (like rotating QB’s at first of ’10 season).  But when all is said and done– Jake just didn’t bring it to the field.  Everyone I’ve heard at BYU wishes him all the best.  Maybe the fresh start will be just what he needs to excel and he’ll still land in the NFL– I certainly hope so.  Maybe other coaches will get it out of him and he’ll learn to have heart.  The talent is certainly there in abundance.  Any team picking him up should know there’s work to be done both on and off the field.    

  • souptwins

    One thing in the article is false.  Doman (BYU OC) reworked the entire offense in the off season to play to the strengths of Heaps.  It included more straight up passing in the pocket.  Heaps was taking far more snaps under center than most BYU QB’s have done in the past.  Jake’s performance –or lack of– had nothing to do with him not fitting into BYU’s system.  He was a local celebrity deemed football’s version of Jimmer. The problem was simply that he didn’t perform on the field.  In the first 4 games of this season, he had just one touchdown in each game.  His throws missed open receivers, if a defender got within 5 yrds he folded like an old lawn chair, and never won the leadership role.  His teammates struggled to see him as their leader especially after referring to them as “those guys” in post game interviews (as if he wasn’t part of them or nothing he did contributed to problems).  Whether he was arrogant in person or not, he sure came across that way in public.  It was suggested he redshirt next year to mature and grow then still have 2 good years after Nelson graduates.  Several other BYU QB’s have done that following their soph. year– ever hear of Jim McMahon? 

    In my opinion, Jake had been promoted as the QB savior since he was 10 yrs old and never had to compete for the starting position.  He was honestly flabbergasted when he was pulled from the Utah St. game which saw Nelson rally for the come from behind win.  He didn’t know what to do with the situation and showed no willingness to dig deep and fight to be the starter.  Coaches gave him every opportunity in the world to be successful but at some point you have to go with who’s performing on the field and winning the games.   Were there mistakes by the young coaching staff?  Certainly (like rotating QB’s at first of ’10 season).  But when all is said and done– Jake just didn’t bring it to the field.  Everyone I’ve heard at BYU wishes him all the best.  Maybe the fresh start will be just what he needs to excel and he’ll still land in the NFL– I certainly hope so.  Maybe other coaches will get it out of him and he’ll learn to have heart.  The talent is certainly there in abundance.  Any team picking him up should know there’s work to be done both on and off the field.    

  • Kreid99

    BigK9 hit the nail on the head–The kid seems to have a sense of entitlement and not the toughness to fight for what he believes..We (The Dawgs) do not need him and should laugh in his face over what has transpired..

  • Kreid99

    BigK9 hit the nail on the head–The kid seems to have a sense of entitlement and not the toughness to fight for what he believes..We (The Dawgs) do not need him and should laugh in his face over what has transpired..