After two seasons at Brigham Young, former Skyline standout quarterback Jake Heaps is transferring.
The sophomore, who started the final 10 games as a freshman and the first five in 2011, was given his release by Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall Monday. Heaps has yet to decide where he will continue his college football career.
Heaps, 6 feet 1, 200 pounds, will not speak to the media right away, but he explained his decision to former Washington quarterback Taylor Barton.
“I really respect and like coach Mendenhall, he’s a great man,” Heaps said in an interview that will be posted at www.northwesteliteindex.com. “I’ve learned a lot about football from coach (Brandon) Doman. There are so many great guys on this team, it’s going to be really hard to leave them. I’ve had some time to think about this decision and it’s not one I came to lightly. I have no idea where I’m going to end up, and haven’t talked to anyone. There are a lot of great programs out there, and I’m excited to do some research and find the right fit.”
Potential destinations for Heaps include Washington, Washington State, Cal and USC.
“Jake has decided to leave the program in pursuit of a fresh start for he and his young family,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “Jake is a great young man with tremendous potential and someone I deeply care about. I am sorry to see him leave this wonderful institution yet anxious to follow his future development and success.”
BYU will play Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 30. Heaps decided to make his decision before the game both out of respect for the program and a need to select a new school so he can enroll in January.
“It wouldn’t have been fair to them if I was going through meetings, practices, and recruiting weekends knowing the whole time I wanted to and was going to transfer,” Heaps said. “I also can’t do something half heartedly. If I’m somewhere I want to be fully committed to it. Though I would have been there physically, I wouldn’t have fully been there mentally.”
After leading Skyline to three state championships and amassing a 40-2 record as a high-school quarterback, Heaps graduated early so he could play spring football. In his first college football game as a freshman, Heaps split time with Riley Nelson and BYU beat Washington, 23-17.
“It’s been very surreal,” Heaps said in an interview after last season. “It’s been exciting. There have been a lot of up-and-down moments throughout the season.”
Heaps took over as the starter after Nelson suffered a shoulder injury. The Cougars won four of their last five regular season games and then the New Mexico Bowl. Heaps set BYU freshman records for passing yards (2,316), passing attempts (383), passing completions (219), passing touchdowns (15), wins (six), games started (10) and played (13).
He opened his sophomore season as the starter, but struggled early on. Heaps was pulled in the third quarter against Utah State and Nelson came in and produced a come-from-behind victory.
Nelson was named the starter after that. Heaps has played in nine games this season, throwing for 1,452 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.
More quotes from Heaps will be available later at www.northwesteliteindex.com.