PROVO — Everyone seems to be speculating on the future of BYU quarterback Jake Heaps these days. Will he stay, will he transfer, or is there some possibility that he could regain his starting status by the time next year rolls around?
Fans and columnists have weighed in on what Heaps' best option would be, with many of them prescribing transfer options as being his best course of action.
Nobody knows for certain what exactly the sophomore quarterback may do, not even Heaps himself. With two years of eligibility remaining on top of a potential redshirt year, he’s certain to be mulling his options carefully.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is assisting Heaps through the decision-making process. The two have been holding weekly meetings discussing various issues relating to Heaps — his life and what his future holds — with the possibility of using his redshirt year next season prominent among the discussion points.
So is Heaps open to redshirting next season?
“Absolutely,” said Mendenhall. “That would probably be a wise thing to do to create separation between him and Riley (Nelson) and if Riley continues to play well. So it is an option we have talked about he was actually excited about the possibility, but again, knowing that Riley still has to play well.”
Heaps came to BYU as the most highly rated quarterback prospect in the country by almost every recruiting service. As a result, fans and pundits alike placed great expectations on him. After a strong close to last season, most fans were expecting a breakout year this season.
That didn’t happen, but according to Mendenhall that’s OK when considering just how young Heaps is.
“What is easy to forget is that he was a true freshman last year,” Mendenhall said. “A kid that came in as a high school senior in January and then ended up starting for us as a true freshman. So he is just young and there are a lot of expectations because of the way he played his freshman year.”
Moreover, with Heaps having to learn a new offense this season, the progression from last year to this year has been below the bar that most observers set for him.
Mendenhall believes that Heaps is using his time on the bench effectively and will grow as a result, not only as a player but as a person. “I think that just time, continued maturity, and age will help him,” he said.
Mendenhall also believes that when it’s all said and done that Heaps could find himself in the NFL, fully believing that the potential is still there despite his taking a step backwards this season.
“In terms of how he throws it, and the decisions he makes, I think he’s an exceptional quarterback,” Mendenhall said.