Analysis: The rise and fall of Jake Heaps

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  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Dec. 9, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    How difficult is this to understand. Riley is the better quarterback. Period.

    Heaps could have redshirted, but he is neither confident in his ability to be the #1 qb when Riley graduates nor loyal to his coaches, teammates or school.

    He is now a mercenary, but just an average and slightly tainted one.

  • azjim GILBERT, AZ
    Dec. 8, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    Heaps was let down by the coaches,he should have had a position coach to work with him,someone like Ty Detmer or Robbie Bosco. Instead he had Doman wearing two hats,neither very well.Heaps looked great with Anae last year, what changed? The coaching.Doman spent the first four games trying to decide where to sit or stand during the game, no wonder Jake seemed tentative his coach was undecisive. I wish Jake had stayed, I hope Apo, Fua, and others he brought with him to BYU will stay. I wish him and his bride the best and hope he wins the heisman @ wazzuoo with Mike Leach. I wish Doman and Bronco would man up and admit they blew it!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    Heaps spent too much time believing all his press clippings. He should have spent time learning how to be a competitor and becoming mentally tough. The Y is frankly, better off without him. Heaps won't make it anywhere else until he grows his mental toughness chucks the I'm better than everyone and I should be QB by right attitude.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Dec. 7, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    Heaps was a valid 5-star recruit. I'm very, very disappointed that he's decided to bail on BYU. I've defended him on just every DesNews article but I am terribly dissapointed he didn't just accept a red-shirt year next year. As every true BYU fan knows, other great BYU QBs have done it and go on to TREMENDOUS success at BYU and in the NFL. He talked about "committment" and the passion he felt for BYU when he was recruited but not redshirting, ESPECIALLY in light of the reality that he could either sit out a year here at BYU or a year somewhere else if he transferred, to me, shows a huge, huge lack of committment and character.

    However, I really do think that benching Heaps (pretty much permanently) in/after the USU game was not the right thing to do. If he was the QB of the future, then go with the future. Like last season, as the teams we played got easier, his confidence would have returned.

    Not sure who's ultimately responsible for this since there seems to be blame on both sides (Jake's and the coaches).

  • Sloppyj30 Saint Louis, MO
    Dec. 6, 2011 10:59 p.m.

    "Jake's a quitter." "BYU coaches can't develop NFL talent." Blah blah blah. It's funny how many people want to "blame" someone when things don't work out. Jake Heaps has had his heart set on being a pro QB since he was a tween. If that's still his dream, why hold it against him for making a choice he feels will lead him there? It may work, it may not, but if the school you're at isn't meeting your needs . . whether you're an athlete or not . . you have every right to transfer. Calling him out for that choice is as selfish as some of you are claiming Jake is.

    As for BYU coaches being at fault, let's just say that a quick review of college football history reveals that -- SURPRISE! -- BYU is not the only school that's landed "can't miss" prospects and had them either underachieve or transfer away. Really. It's true.

    Stuff happens. Best-laid plans and all that. The sun will still rise for the Heaps family tomorrow and BYU will keep trotting out a decent-to-very-good team every fall. Next story, please.

  • Magic Happens Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    This is a nice re-cap of Heaps' career at BYU but there is nothing new here. It appears to be another attempt to dismiss lingering questions, frustrations and disappointments. Thankfully it is not another propaganda piece as so often is the case by other unnamed writers for the D News.

    Typically I enjoy B Gurney's articles. They seem to have less flair and embellishment. He just gives his view. However in this article there is some misinformation. Brandon writes,

    "The Skyline High quarterback was a consensus five-star prospect and ranked as not only the No. 1 QB prospect by some services, but as the No. 1 prospect at any position."

    A quick search of 3 major recruiting services for the class of 2010 reveal the following for Jake Heaps:

    Rivals: 4*, QB Rank #1, National Rank #63
    Scout: 5*, QB Rank #1, National Rank #21
    ESPN: 4*, QB Rank #7, National Rank - not given, Regional Rank (NW United States )#24

    These are all very good rankings, but not quite as was written. I'm sure there are some less recognized services that may have differing views of Heaps, but I choose 3 that most football followers are familiar with.

    I hope Heaps is able to land with another program that will help him realize his potential as a football player but also teach some life lessons about competition, hard work and sometimes disappointment. After reading some of the comments here, it is apparent that there are some here who need to learn the same lessons.

    Go Utes!

  • cougar76 Raleigh, NC
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:00 p.m.

    BYUCamFan--Don't forget the tight ends and receivers he got hurt when they tried to catch his off target passes. If the passes had been on target, they could have protected themselves or better still, the passes should have led them away from the big hits. Instead we had a QB who was more interested in protecting himself from getting hit.

  • Ernesto de Bajo Albuquerque, NM
    Dec. 6, 2011 7:14 p.m.

    Of the columns on this subject by DN columnists, this one by Gurney is the most insightful and useful.

  • yourstruly PAUL, ID
    Dec. 6, 2011 6:45 p.m.

    Heaps never had a chance to truly open it up and pass the ball at BYU. Remember the Utah game last year when he only passed on 3rd down and played great. Same thing in the Texas game where Doman ran for no yards on first down 7 or 8 possessions in a row. I watched those games and didn't see separation by the receivers and the offensive line has been poor against the good teams especially Utah early in the season.
    My critiique of Heaps is that he should have held the ball longer and put the responsibility on the offensive line and the coaches instead of bailing them out on all of those third and long plays when he had no protection and rifled the ball to covered receivers.
    By the way Heaps played far better than his overhyped receivers, Jacobson and Apo the past two years. Hoffman has emerged as a star and Apo is finally showing some glimpses and I am sorry that Jake will miss out on their potential by transferring.
    As a friend noted Riley was ordinary at best last year and showed little of the talent that he has developed and that may be a main reason Jake didn't redshirt.

  • HawkQuest SHELBY, MI
    Dec. 6, 2011 6:18 p.m.

    What we don't know is whether Bronco and Doman actually wanted Heaps to leave. His attitude may have been poison to the team. I would not be surpised if this were the case. Bronco sounds practically delighted that he is leaving. Must be a high maintenance kid. Two things are certain: Bronco is a class act, and Heaps is not much of a team player. BYU will continue as an outstanding institution; Heaps will be forgotten in a few months.

  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    Dec. 6, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    Jake Hypes didn't live up to the hype, and somehow that is Doman or Mendenhall's fault?

    That's like the kid who's getting an F in class blaming the teacher...when he has 20+ missing assignments.

    That's like the guy who ran the pedestrian over in the cross walk, then complained that the pedestrian didn't jump out of his way.

    Heaps has one person to blame for his failure at BYU. That's the guy in the mirror.

    I'm not going to say that Doman and Mendenhall didn't make mistakes. But Heaps was the one overthrowing receivers, not his coaches. Heaps was the guy fumbling snaps, not his coaches. Etc, etc, etc.

    It's called accountability. I hope Heaps is a bigger man than to blame his coaches. If it didn't work out, it didn't work out and I wish him all the best. But he'd better not be like some of the posters here and blame Mendenhall and Doman for all his failures. Then I will have zero respect left for him.

    The only one responsible for you, is you.

  • trollhunter2 HERRIMAN, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    The 2013 and 2014 season schedules are shaping up to me very tough. So this lends to the question as to what Heaps was expressing when he first arrived on campus 2 years ago about the setting goals to winning a national title.

    In 2013 our schedule has the like of Texas, Utah, Georgia Tech, Houston, Boise St, Notre Dame - 2014 is the same thing with the addition of UCF and So. Miss.

    And these schedules are not finalised with rumors of some big names to be added to those schedules. If Heaps were to have sucked it up like a real man and like all the other great QB's in the past red shirt next year we'd have a veteran QB who has great potential to lead that great recieving corp in Hoffman and Apo, dont forget the TE's and RB's with a pretty stout defense and legitemate schedules. I dont think Mr. Heaps realises what he just walked away from. He instead would rather start over somewhere else and go thru what he just went thru the last two years trying to prove himself and learn a new system somewhere else - his ego oversights logic - that's sad !!

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 6, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    Someone said BYU would be 11-1 if Riley had started all year. Maybe they pick up the Texas game and the Utah beat down is only two touchdowns, but you can't say Riley would have made a 44 point difference against Utah. Riley was the QB in a 10 point TCU Loss.

    Anyway, I wish Jake Heaps success, but I wish he would have stayed and shown his metal. I hope he can play on Sundays, but I am afraid he is too small.

    Best wishes. Splits like this are never good.

    Dec. 6, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    @patriot 11:58 a.m. - typically we're whining about the refs needing glasses. Is it possible to be so blind? NELSON is one-dimensional? That's a laugh. I believe he's been at least as accurate as Heaps, probably better. Other than a strong arm, what other dimension does Heaps have? Absolutely cannot, and will not, run. Overthrows long passes. Rifles short ones or throws into the grass. Cannot take a hit. Cannot think on his feet.

    A strong arm without accuracy is really just one-half dimensional, and that's ALL Heaps has. Nelson is more accurate, has better touch, can run, can take a hit, can think on his feet, doesn't fall to pieces when a play breaks down, has heart and grit, inspires his teammates. Many, many more dimensions to Nelson than Heaps.

    BYU would have easily won all the same games this year with Nelson, and probably Texas as well. Nobody showed up for Utah, but who knows what would have happened if Nelson had set a better tone at the QB position?

    It seems many are so blinded by Heaps' pre-game hype that they can't accurately see his game-time play.

  • technonerd7 orem, ut
    Dec. 6, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    SCCougar and others who are saying it is not fair to blame the coaches, I disagree. Football is like dating. Find a girl, ask her out, ask her to go steady, then ask her to marry you. BYU and Jake did this, and now they are getting divorced. Just like in life, a divorce is 99% of the time in part of both parties taking some of the blame. Jake is to blame for not being prepared and perhaps having to much ego(99% of us don't know, we were not on the team or in the locker room). Bronco and Brandon are to blame as well, because it is their job to mold the young man they need him to be.
    To say we cannot hold the coaches responsible is inaccurate. We can hold them responsible. What does this situation do to future recruiting as well? If Jake goes on and has a monster career and is in the NFL, it certainly won't help BYU's recruiting in the future.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Dec. 6, 2011 2:39 p.m.

    Good luck to Jake. To quote Steve Young about playing quaterback: "In college everyone is open, in the NFL no one is open". Jake couldn't find an open receiver. Maybe after some seasoning Jake can have a good Senior year at a D-1 college.

  • MizzouBlue Carthage, MO
    Dec. 6, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    This is not about Riley & Jake. It's not that Riley was good & Jake was bad or vice versa. It's about a young man who for whatever reason has chosen to make a change in his life. We're not there in the locker room or on the practice field, etc. to know the dynamics of what's going on amongst players and coaches nor players with each other. I am sad to see Jake leave BYU & only hope that he ends up somewhere where he can realize his dreams. Further, Riley has shown great leadership for the Cougs this year. I hope he stays healthy and can continue to lead the team. Go Cougs.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    Heaps is a guy who can target shoot like Annie Oakley, but you put him in a D1 football game with speed rushers, 300 lb athletic defensive tackles and fast, well coached DBs and he can't hit the broad side of the barn. I called this two years ago, so I'm not just hopping on the bandwagon. He isn't going to do wonders elsewhere and I certainly don't see him having an NFL career. If he can't handle the college game, how in the world would he cope with the pro level defenses?

    I'm for sure not a BYU fan, but I give Mendenhall props for seeing through Heaps' game, and I have to laugh at all the Y fans who honestly believe this is doomsday for BYU. Lark is still the best of BYU's QB stable, and it's too bad for BYU that Doman is so incapable of evaluating QB talent (let alone coaching it), but they'll be all right with Nelson. The guy is a gamer in a way the Heaps never will be.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    Heaps " sure to catch on at another program..."? One name: Ben Olson.

    Heaps didn't perform even after having the offense built around him. I have no need to defend the BYU coaching staff, but they gave Heaps every possible opportunity to bring him along and to adapt the offense around Heaps' style. However, he just couldn't produce against Utah nor Utah State.

    I'm not a big fan of Nelson either but he has heart, has leadership skills and shows the way to his team mates by doing what it takes to win. I wish Heaps the best and I think he can go on to start at another program, but planning to and doing are 2 different things.

    Dec. 6, 2011 12:53 p.m.

    A bit tired of the comments blaming this on the mishandling by the coaching staff. Jake was given the 'keys' as soon as he signed. The offense was built around him and yet he didn't take advantage even when given every opportunity and left in way longer than others would have been with the same performances. I, for one, wanted him to succeed and be the next great Cougar QB. I was hoping that he would redshirt next year and mature and then take the program to unforeseen heights his JR. and SR. years.

    There are those that think they should've left him in for the 'cupcake' games and let him develop. How can a coach do that when there are others that are performing better and have more a an outward will to win. To me, that is where the problem would've been and future recruits would shy away knowing that unless they have a certain amount of stars they will not be given a chance no matter how well they perform.

    I want Jake to succeed. He has made his choice. Now is the time for others to step up. They will. They always do.

  • Robert Rexburg, ID
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    Arm strength does not translate to success, and BYU football coaches should have known that from history.

    Heaps simply does not have game or situation savvy. He doesn't have foot speed to compensate, either. His accuracy is just average, especially on throws over 15 yards. Those, in my opinion, are the fatal flaws that doomed Jake. He just didn't do well in games while Riley did, and that's the bottom line.

    Betcha Jake has an offer from a school already. I don't think his family would have let him quit otherwise.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    OK everyone, leave the coaching staff out of this. Heaps got every chance to prove himself, more than a typical recruit would get. You can't mis-manage a player when he got everything he wanted.

    Heaps should man up like everyone else and become a "team" player. Instead he is so blindly focused on himself that he began thinking transfer as soon as he was benched. He had his high school coach start contacting other schools right after the USU game. That's not a football guy.

  • N.C.Y. Iowa City, IA
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    I think the long and short of all this is...Heaps didn't perform, Nelson did. This is football not Hollywood.

  • Topher Herriman, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    It's too bad that he won't rise to a level of a man that he could have. This will probably another chapter in the life of a spoiled child that isn't getting his way and is running away from the situation instead of dealing with it.
    I really liked Heaps when I saw him play. However, there was a real difference in the way that the team played before the end of the 3rd quarter against Utah State and the way the team has played since. The team seemed to play and fight harder for Nelson than Heaps. It makes me wonder why, if all things were equal why would the team play harder for one quarterback than the other.
    Good luck to him and his future.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    The fall of Heaps or the Fall of BYU football as we once knew it??

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 11:58 a.m.


    BYU 11-1 with little 5'10" Riley running the show? HA! I don't think so. Nelson would make a great Air Force QB but for certain this kid wouldn't have even been recruited by BYU if Chow or Holmgren or other past coordinators were calling the shots. Nelson is one dimensional - a good defense simply plays tight man defense and brings up a safety to stop the run and what do you have with little Riley? DEAD END. Can Riley stretch the field by throwing accurately 30-40 yards downfield? What about an out pattern 30 yards to the sideline? NO!! Yes Nelson is fine playing against Idaho and New Mex St but put him up against Texas or Oklahoma or USC. OUCH!!! The little guy has grit I will give him that but let's be serious - BYU can't compete with Nelson for a top 20 ranking and that is pretty sad going forward.

  • Gazpacho Logan, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    Jake has tremendous talent, but as yet, that is still all he has. He is not a play-maker, he is not a leader, and he does not inspire his teammates. He has a great arm, but that is only about 10% of what it takes to be a great quarterback. He may develop those other traits in time, but alas, it will now be elsewhere.

    The biggest mistake that Bronco made was not red-shirting Jake the moment he arrived in Provo. When Bronco began the failed dual quarterback experiment last year, it was not based on distrust of Nelson, but a recognition of great talent on Heaps part combined with a lingering gut feeling that starting a true freshman at BYU was a bad idea. He should have followed his gut.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but I do not make these statements based on Riley's recent success. The qualities that Jake Heaps needed to develop are earned with time, hard work, acclimation and the resulting maturity, qualities better developed by doing time on the pine.

  • Just Another Football Fan LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    I think BYU needs to evaluate their players and recognize a true athlete right in front of them. Trevor Brown is a walk-on converted TE at the moment, which is a huge mistake in my opinion. If anyone watched that kid game his senior year, you know he can play. Tough, fast, smart, and composed. At 6'6" he can throw and run, and certainly isn't afraid to take a hit. He played his entire senior season with a torn shoulder, and still helped his team to the 4A Championship. It would be great if the coaches were smart and gave him a shot.

  • Amorphous Saint George, Utah
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:51 a.m.

    This is a story about a boy from the football mecca State of Washington...Washington? Are you kidding me? So, he can throw a ball but can he take a hit? Can he deliver one, if need arises? Can he run? Can a football player?

    Over the course of his brief career at BYU we have received the answer to these questions. In every case, a resounding NO. Even the throw the ball component has not gone that well for him. For those critics of the coaching approach, you are only right if your critique is of their having coddled too much. Otherwise, he was given more, not less.

    Leaving? Lots to overcome? Try a separated shoulder and a collapsed lung on for size, on top of the piling of of nay saying regarding your "potential as a quarterback" based on your apparent skill set. If anyone had reason to bolt, Riley did. But, Riley is a man and just proved it again Saturday evening.

    I wish no ill will to Mr. Heaps, wherever he lands, but the odds are heavily stacked that wherever that is, the grass will be no other shade of green.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    "Weber State Grad, Three weeks after a collapsed lung Riley puts on a show like he just did in Hawaii and you think we need to see what he's made of?"

    In terms of winning...absoulutely we need to see what he's made of. Can he win bowl games, can he win the BIG games? Don't know yet...that's why he's got a lot riding on his shoulders and BYU fans will chew him up and spit him out if he loses now that Heaps is gone.

    In terms of guts...we already know what he's made of. The kid has guts, fire, leadership, and dogged determintaion. Gotta love a guy with these qualities.

    But will he win the big games? Will guts alone lead the team to victory? Just have to wait and see...he will either be the goat, or the hero with no in-betweens.

  • SoCal Reader San Diego, CA
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    Why do I need to log into the Seattle Times to get more about this story than the short comments the DN paper listed about Jake's transfer? I know the Church owns the paper and school, and I'm perfectly fine with that. But that doesn't mean the paper, generally, and sports section, specifically, can't be more probing. Why will Heaps talk more to the Times but not to the DN? And my response to all the follow-up articles is that the finger points squarely on Jake. He's gotta buck up and take-on full responsibility. He could have lead this team and been a leader both on and off the field, but he, apparently, failed to do so. His teammates will run through a wall for Riley Nelson. That speaks volumes. With that being said, I hope Jake succeeds wherever he lands.

  • selway Paul, Idaho
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    Cougar fan Taysom will be 22 this fall and will not redshirt. He will play spring ball and compete for the starting job. Athletically he is in the class of a certain Auburn quarterback who is tearing up the nfl this year.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    It was not just about play on the field. Heaps portrayed arrogance. Nelson earned his team mates respect and Heaps thought it should be automatic. An attitude of earning respect vs an attitude of entitlement. I also think Heaps is getting advice from several different people who have a lot of influence in his life. I think he could have done well at BYU by the time his career was over and even gotten an NFL shot and he probably still will get those things. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that Heaps had his shots on the field. With soldi QB play, BYU might have gone undefeated this year. Heaps did not get it done on the field. Poor passing and poor decision making and teammates who did not rally around him and did not have confidence in him. The QB future is bright at BYU, Very bright.
    Good luck to Heaps, I wish him success.

  • bradleyc Layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    I wish Jake Heaps all the best. He seems like a great young man. We will pull for you wherever you go.

  • newintown WOODS CROSS, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    How interesting it would be if Heaps rethought his decision, forgot his ego, put the NFL smack away until he gets there and learned to be the QB he has the potential to be at BYU.

    Why risk trading what he want most for what he wants now. He could have both in Provo, but it won't be handed to him on the silver platter from which he has always been fed. Performance always trumps potential, especially as the competition get tougher.

  • newintown WOODS CROSS, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:11 a.m.

    Mendenhall's only mistake in handking Heaps was in not controlling the media hype surrounding him and Heaps ego in seaking it. Hey, Heaps has a right to free speach.

    But, beyond that, the position has always been Heaps' to loose. Why is it so hard to understand that a coach would prefer to win than to coddle a five star prospect with contact issues and a propensity to miss his recievers.

    Mendenhall amended his mistake by altering the starting line up to get more W's, i.e the good of the overall program. Heaps has yet to fix his mistake, that of controlling his mouth, ego and media adiction in favor of honing his skills and then blowing Nelson out of the program.

    A good comparitive is Steve Young. Came to Provo to play QB (behind McMahon?) Slotted as a DB by Edwards. Knuckled down, waited, got ethe chance and smoked it. Went to the NJ Generals for big$$. Tampa Bay with no talent. Traded to SF (behind perhaps the greatest QB ever, Montana). Knuckled down. Waited and supported his team's success. Got his chance, smoked it. Look what his patience and ethic achieved.

    Sorry Jake. Your loss. Good Luck.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    DBitt... how can you lay this on the coaches? They made him #1. They groomed him. He started and took the majority of reps. They built the system around him. He started and consistently underperformed. He missed wide open receivers either grossly overthrowing them or firing into the ground. He lacked judgement... he'd rifle short balls making it tough on receivers, he'd roll out and have 20 yards of open field with 8 yards needed for a first and then botch the throw when he could have easily run and gotten the first down. He did this repeatedly. He was horrible against Utah. If you were the coach, would you have made the switch? YES.

    I have no ax to grind, just want to see BYU do well. I hope Jake grows and succeeds, but he couldn't beat out Riley in the "here and now." He MUST grow if he hopes to beat the highly recruited talent for another team. And if he can't beat out Riley and fears Hill and the others coming in, what chance does he have for his future?

  • mdp Bountiful, utah
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:01 a.m.

    I think Heaps has made a big mistake. FWIW, history shows that QBs who stick with the BYU program do quite well in the NFL; the promising prospects who leave generally have not done well at other schools.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    The QB pipeline continues to run deep.

    2012 - Nelson, Lark, Munns (Taysom Hill and Olsen to redshirt)
    2013 - Munns, Hill, Olsen
    2014 - Hill, Olsen, Kuresa (Mangum to redshirt)
    2015 - Hill, Olsen, Kuresa, Mangum
    2016 - Hill, Kuresa, Mangum
    2017 - Mangum, Kuresa
    2018 - Mangum

    McCoy Hill fits in this somewhere also, but I don't know his mission plans so I didn't include him.

    I'm sure Lark and Munns are disappointed to see a teammate leave, but must be ecstatic about the opportunity to now compete to be the BYU staring QB.

  • WA_Alum&Dad Marysville, WA
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    I agree with most of what you say, but I do think he will end up at an elite school. That's the only way to stay on the NFL track that he craves. However, while they will be willing to take a chance on him, they won't re-tool their program for him, and he will have to go out and win the job on the field just like he would have to here, but likely with a deeper stable of talent.

    He's picked a tougher path than he thinks he has. He now has a new program to learn, new players to win over, and all the same personal issues he was dealing with at BYU. I wish him well too, but I think he's 50/50 at excelling somewhere better than here.

  • kokua KAYSVILLE, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:50 a.m.


    This is a minor hiccup, I assure you Riley and James are not distracted one bit. They are committed to the job at hand, that is game preparation for the up coming bowl with the Golden Hurricane.

    I remember that 07 game it was a fun game to watch. I will be in attendance this 2011 Bowl game it should be fun.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    Wow! Good luck to both QBs...who needs soap operas these days with all the drama in the Sporting World?

  • oldalum IDAHO FALLS, ID
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    The disappointment that is Jake Heaps can be spelled out with the two Bs... Bronco & Brandon. Bronco, the defensive coach whos very name denotes smash-mouth football on both sides of the ball, and a self-admitted lack of sufficient offensive knowledge to really direct that aspect of the game. This is not a criticism. That is why we have offensive and defensive coordinators... it is just a fact. Enter Brandon a running, smash-mouth quarterback in his own right, who tried to design the offense as a pro-style set with the QB behind the center. Problem is, BYU had no running game to take pressure off the quarterback. The result is what transpired before our eyes... Good defenses shutting down the running game (easily) and concentrating on the BYU passing attack, disrupting what I feel is still one of the best QB prospects in the country in Jake Heaps. Patriot said it best: Mike Holmgren, Norm Chow and LaVell Edwards must be holding their heads in the hands to see the great dynamic passing attack they built over 30 years be reduced to what we saw this year.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    I wish Heaps well and much success. I was disturbed by Coach putting Nelson back in at No. 1 until the Hawaii game. I became a Nelson fan by watching a real gamer.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    Henry Drummond | 7:47 p.m. Dec. 5, 2011 San Jose, CA

    I seem to remember someone saying that players generally play how they are coached. I don't see a whole lot of accountability from a coaching staff that just squandered a five star quarterback.

    How can you say that? Riley Nelson did really well, BYU is very fortunate and should be grateful that Coach Anderson wasn't at USU when they recruited Nelson during his mission.

    Heaps problem is he believed his own hype, and thinks of himself in 3rd person.

  • wattsde Sandy, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    Thak you Mr Brandon Gurmen for not mentioning the taunting from Riley Nelson parents to Brook (Jake's wife). Can you say that to Dick Harmon please because there is no reason to bring that up in the first place.

    Stay away from SEC country which will be too hard for you. USC (which I can't stand them - former SF Bay Area) should fit you there because they will protect you atthe Line. Maybe Washington will forgive you and will take you. Good luck!

  • mdp Bountiful, utah
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    I hate to see Heaps go; he showed a lot of promise. His problems were leadership (performing in critical situations) and a lack of touch (throwing too hard when not needed), all made worse by shoving him into the limelight too early. I thought he was significantly improving and learning the intangibles from Nelson this year. It is all a matter of building heart and getting a sense of urgency (the eye of the Tiger) where Nelson excels.

  • Andy Tomasso Layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 7:58 a.m.

    Bronco and Doman don't know how to coach talent, its that simple. Heaps will be amazing in a program designed around him. Hopefully Bronco isn't around much longer.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    Dec. 6, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    This is why you play the game. There is the hype and then there is the actual performance. Heaps was a lot of hype. He was EXPECTED to do well in college. He was treated like a super star before he even took a snap. But not everybody progresses the way you think they will. Nelson is clearly the better quarterback. He didn't have the hype, but he performed where it matters --- ON THE FIELD.

    I do feel sorry for Heaps. Not living up to expectations is a tough row to hoe. There is no way a PAC 12 school will be interested in him at this point but I can see him having a great career in the WAC or MWC. He still has time to get it going.

  • CaliforniaCougar Lake Elsinore, CA
    Dec. 6, 2011 7:20 a.m.

    I wanted Heaps in there all along.


    Heaps did not hit the open receivers.

    Nelson has.

    Heaps has not made plays.

    Nelson has.

    It's hard to put Heaps in there when he hasn't performed.

  • alleYcat BATAVIA, IL
    Dec. 6, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    Jake Heaps was told he was the #1 quarterback in the country coming out of high school, the problem is that Jake Heaps believes that. Brandon said it best: "People think Jake is better than Jake is right now".

    I'm no expert on quarterbacking skills, but anyone can see that he stares down a target, overthrows open recievers and doesn't lead with heart or will so teammates aren't inspired by him. He might have NFL arm strength, but he doesn't have NFL touch on his passes or NFL caliber leadership with teammates, not to mention he doesn't have NFL size. NFL won't happen.

    I wish Jake luck. Would love to see him with Leach at wazzu. But I'm a happier BYU fan with Riley as QB and Lark (who appears to have NFL size at least) as backup, and Tanner Mangum in the wings.

  • md Cache, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 6:21 a.m.

    He obviously has all of the talent and very poor leadership and grit.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Dec. 6, 2011 5:38 a.m.

    Hope the Cougs can get themselves pulled together for the Bowl in Texas.

    Tulsa's Golden Hurricane are already licking their lips. They will love this distracting QB news.

    Today's Tulsa newspaper says, "Armed Forces Bowl Could be Similar to 2007 Slugfest, where the Golden Hurricane defeated BYU 55-47"

  • cougarNV Las Vegas, NV
    Dec. 6, 2011 1:22 a.m.

    @ SportZFan

    Did you not watch the Hawaii game? Riley had a -3 yards rushing for the game!

    He found his third and fourth receivers.

    Though Riley is a much nicer person I believe, He reminds me of a heart driven and tuff QB I Grew UP watching named Kenny Stabler. He won games he wasn't supposed to. He inspired his Team and the Defense to win with him.

    Mr. Heaps lacked that ability IMO.

    The Cougars will be all right.

  • Noblepromise PROVO, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:12 a.m.

    Heaps left because of these reasons since he was recruited out of high school as a blue chip recruit:lost starting quarterback position; changes of offensive coordinator Robert Anae to Doman and in turn offensive schemes were changed; and BYU going independent. Don't fault him for transferring as his whole at BYU was to be noticed by NFL scouts and he isn't going to get while being the backup and BYU playing on ESPN teams that are not from the BCS conference.

    Riley earned the starter this year, even after and was injured last year when Heaps became the starter. Riley has playing experience at collegiate level that Heaps didn't have. I don't think Riley has NFL ambitions, just to win in games he plays against.

    The unfortunate record is that recruited BYU quarterbacks that played at BYU and than transferred haven't been noticed by the NFL. Maybe Heaps will break that trend and play in Division 1A conference better than MWC or WAC. I wish both quarterbacks well.

    Riley will have the pressure of winning the games that BYU has scheduled before him an he has no control on who he plays, but to win.

  • kokua KAYSVILLE, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 11:49 p.m.

    I love this photo of a completely bewildered Heaps, it says it all.

  • LP suppporter Lehi, Utah
    Dec. 5, 2011 11:10 p.m.

    I truly do not understand many of these posts. Get a grip out there. So far there is very little mention of Heaps transfer anywhere other than Utah. Let him go. BYU will survive they will win 8-10 games every year. Heaps never had the capacity or heart to get them over the top. Neither BYU or Utah will compete for a BCS bowl bid for a number of years. BYU cannot recruit enough 5 star players to go undefeated. As fans we demand a tough schedule and then we moan if they do not win it all. We want Texas,ND,Boise and others. Reality check here folks. We are a "church school". You cannot get the necessary athletes to comepete at that level day in and day out. The coaching staff has done an amazing job with the players they get. My hat is off to them. Utah has to compete with USC just to win their division. Good Luck. If AZ and ASU have struggled for 30 odd years to compete what is Utah going to do? You cannot get the USC recriut so you are fighting for the ASU recruit.. Good luck. That is reality.

  • SportzFan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:57 p.m.

    "While Heaps was lights-out during the first week of practices, it began to stagnate as the defense began to throw more and more different coverage and blitz packages at him.

    That stagnation continued into the season, leading to the improbable conclusion that Heaps may not be the best guy to play under center."

    Improbable and not necessarily correct conclusion. Heaps handled everything that was thrown at him last year. Maybe the problem wasn't the QB, but the offense and the reads. Riley had more time to learn before being thrown to the fire AND Riley doesn't go through a progression of reads, he runs.

    Dec. 5, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    Best of luck Jake Heaps.

    It is still one of the most baffling things I have ever seen in college football to watch Jake Heaps inability to accurately throw the ball to receivers this year. I don't think Jake Heaps could explain it himself. I remember ESPN posting an "Overthrows" statistic for Heaps during the first half of the Utah State game. It was painfully obvious he was struggling to throw the ball accurately. His decision-making never improved which was also surprising. Too often he stared down receivers rather than looking off receivers, a typical freshman mistake but not what you expect from a nation's #1 QB after a full year of playing and an entire summer to better learn the playbook and practice with receivers.

    Over time his missed throws became demoralizing. The offensive line digs in, the receiver sprints down the field, make the cut....and the ball is 5 feet over his head. BYUs defense dominated Texas and Utah in the first half, then frustration and fatigue set in by fumbles, interceptions, and missed throws in the second half. BYU would be 11-1 this year if Riley Nelson had been starting from the beginning. Hopefully Jake Heaps can improve during his transfer year and come back a better player for his next team.

  • Elk Hair Caddis Sandy, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate...Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.

    Vince Lombardi

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:34 p.m.

    Much like the Monson article in today's SL Tribune--Brandon Gurney tell us absolutely nothing. To Mr. Monson and Mr. your job! Report the story! Tell the reader "what happened." Simple journalism, guys. Not rocket science.

  • Amorphous Saint George, Utah
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:07 p.m.

    Weber State Grad,
    Three weeks after a collapsed lung Riley puts on a show like he just did in Hawaii and you think we need to see what he's made of?


  • jake heaps = ben olson Orem, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:05 p.m.

    Told ya

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 9:39 p.m.

    This has the potential of getting very, very ugly.

    Nelson now has the weight of the proverbial world on his shoulders. Starting with the bowl game, if BYU loses, and Nelson doesn't perform to the standards of BYU fans(remember that Heaps was a bowl MVP as a mere freshman last year) and BYU continues to lose the big games next year, Nelson will be an outcast after what has happened with Heaps. My sense is that coaches may well lose their jobs if this scenario plays out and things will get "darn" right ugly.

    Of course, Nelson could be the bowl MVP this year and win some big games next year. Under this scenario, Heaps would be an afterthought and many Cougar fans and coaches would say: "see we were right all along...who was Jake Heaps?"

    Let's see what this Riley Nelson kid is really made of and whether he will be hero, or go down in BYU lore as a scoundrell along with a few scoundrell coaches.

    What an interesting show coming up...I got my popcorn in hand and will be watching intently.

  • Square Kokonut Orem, Utah
    Dec. 5, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    It was the Utah game that spelled the beginning of the end for Heaps when he flubbed the initial snap from center...twice! His heart's been questioned ever since. Though he showed marked improvement in Nelson's absence, the writing was on the wall and Heaps knew it. The humiliation of being benched and heckled for the first time in his young storied football life was obviously the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for Heaps...more so than maybe his recent shortcomings on the field. We wish him well.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Heaps will end up starting for a team in a BCS conference and after that most likely the NFL if he plays for someone like Mike Leech at Washington State. He has the big arm, the quick release and is well suited for a drop back passing attack that IS the NFL. BYU will never get another Jake Heaps - according to Dick Harmon they don't want one either. According to Harmon BYU likes the Riley Nelson types - 5'10" running QB that is the "new BYU" going forward. Good heaven's - Mike Holmgren, Norm Chow and LaVell Edwards must be holding their heads in the hands to see the great dynamic passing attack they built over 30 years be reduced to what we saw this year.

    It was fun while it lasted ....

  • WA_Alum&Dad Marysville, WA
    Dec. 5, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    Most elite college athletic programs get the best talent money can buy, pretend that they are students, shade the line to keep clear of the NCAA, and hope their investments don't leave early for the pros. BYU can not do that and be true to their mission as an institution. So the only other way to try to compete at the highest level is to find athletes who are willing to go all-in, and then stress execution, heart, honor, and (sorry to stir up the trolls) perfection. It makes for a more brittle program because talent isn't going to be as deep, and little things going wrong can be disasterous. But that is what you'll get if you want to stay true to BYU's standards. The honor code makes haters crazy. I'm OK with that.

    If you are a fair-weather fan, then go root for another school who has as their highest purpose a BCS bowl or an NC. We don't need you.

  • tcom2011 Fort Worth, TX
    Dec. 5, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    Henry - my only thought about your post is that virtually every other BYU player plays with their heart of their sleeve. Just watch the defense, that is heart! And I think that is what the coach has taught and instilled those attributes into most of his players. Sometimes people respond differently to leadership.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 5, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    I seem to remember someone saying that players generally play how they are coached. I don't see a whole lot of accountability from a coaching staff that just squandered a five star quarterback.

  • kokua KAYSVILLE, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    Shocking that he won't be a BYU qb ?

    Not at all, Jake is the classic proverbial "One Hit Wonder" the Ben Olsen of the 2000's for BYU, again Hype does not a Heap make.

    Sorry the emperor has no clothes.

  • We wear Blue ogden, ut
    Dec. 5, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    Note to all Ute trolls and fair weather Cougar fans:
    Stating your great because there is a title tacted onto your name, such as "PAC12" and" highest rated recruit," means nothing without actual results.
    Every child knows the story,"the emperors new clothes" and understand how many believe something is there, when obvisiously there isnt . Just because enough people say it is so, we still can see theres nothing.

    As the Utes swirl slowing down the toliet of the PAC12,all the while telling us they are playing the best teams in the nation and the armchair QBs preach the downfall of BYU football because Heaps is leaving........the Emperor has been exposed.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Dec. 5, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin,

    I never said anything of the sort. I love BYU as a school but think the athletic programs have been a disappointment on the national stage.

  • Teddy Bear Las Vegas, NV
    Dec. 5, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    Bronco didn't commit to Nelson after Utah St. For a few weeks, he was playing the "week to week evaluation" card.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    The proof is in the pudding and Heaps only gave us jello.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 5, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    I feel bad for Jake and wish him the best wherever he goes. The notion of playing at Wazoo for Mike Leach is interesting. I would be a little nervous at the prospect of facing a Jake Heaps developed, but I'd LOVE to see Utah face him.

    For those bad-mouthing Nelson, chirp away. I think he has the right stuff to get BYU into the top 25, even win some games against top 25 programs. Into the top 10? Well, right now, top 25 would look good. One step at a time.

  • Jaspet03 LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 5:36 p.m.

    Im so sick of hearing about how good heaps was in high school and how great of a arm he has. coulda should woulda... He hasn't won anything. Riley Nelson put up yards against TCU that no one has..... I can't believe anyone would want a kid that leaves just because he got beat out, that isn't a football player. Mendenhall and Doman love Riley because he is efficient and wins games and the team plays better because of him. BYU's Defense was great beginning the season and slowly lost its swag because of the pathetic offense lead by heaps. They are finally back because of the offense is led by Nelson

  • Cougar Alumni Beaver, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 5:29 p.m.

    Article;The Iggy's press conference is just the sort of thing that Bronco Mendenhall hates. Throughout my years of covering recruiting, the BYU head coach has made no secret regarding his utter disdain for the recruiting process and the hype assigned to prospective players out of high school.

    If Bronco hates it so much, why doesn't he tell ALL recruits, you have a press conference say good by to your scholarship!

    Bronco, start coaching and stop the fireside chats!

    To the Y approach Holmoe and either fire him or get into an AQ conference and bring back what Coach LE built.

    The IndyWAC and the Heaps issues are bad press!

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Dec. 5, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    Maybe the weak Pac-12 defenses won't scare him so much!

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Dec. 5, 2011 4:30 p.m.


    "I think Heaps was overrated."

    Seriously? You were one of the most vocal people around here saying Heaps would win a Heisman! Way to backtrack on that one...

  • DevilishUte Tempe, AZ
    Dec. 5, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    "Too bad the running game was non-existent until after Utah State."

    Because the schedule softened up significantly after that game with the exception of TCU.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Dec. 5, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    Either Heaps was not able to raise his skills to D-1 level or BYU didn't have the coaching power to help him do it. I remember we ran Norm Chow out of Provo for running a "predictable" offense. Even Ty Detmer had a dismal senior year after showing loads of promise. Even in our best years, BYU has just been a solid mid-major, a few wins against name competition (outside Miami, no one in the top 10 not in the MWC or WAC). So I don't know where everyone is getting so surprised that we aren't in a BCS bowl. This is BYU.

    I would be tougher on our coaches if any of these "star" QB's did something significantly better at a new school. Olson and the rest have all been mediocre at best. I think Heaps was overrated. Worse than that, he just doesn't play with heart or emotion. Not going after fumbles or trying to tackle an INT coming at him were signs he just wasn't in the game. Give me a Steve Young or a Riley Nelson any day over an emotionless player like Heaps.

  • dustman Nampa, ID
    Dec. 5, 2011 4:15 p.m.

    Too bad the running game was non-existent until after Utah State.

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    A very good analysis.

  • Torrey Ellis Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    This situation is making me sick (We lose a 5 star recruit, story of Nelson's family in DH artice). Heaps was sorely mismanaged, and while I recognize that this is not just a one-sided coin, I think that the blame largely goes to the coaching staff.

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    Here comes the Cougar damage control squad. Dick Harmon's "article" rallying the troops will be next.


  • DBitt Homer, AK
    Dec. 5, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    It saddens me that the coaching staff and particulary Bronco Mendenhall could be so inept at handling this situation. Good luck becoming an elite program with Riley Nelson. He's a great sparkplug for the short term, but Jake Heaps was the real deal and you let him down by first placing expectations so high that no one could possibly meet them and then abandoning him when he needed encouragement. Shame on you.

  • RevK Glenwood, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 3:35 p.m.

    BYUs back up QB is transfering......Ok. Bye.