Now at Miami, his third school in five years, quarterback Jake Heaps has high expectations for his final season of college football.
After three seasons with mixed results at BYU and Kansas, the 23-year-old Heaps announced his decision to take his talents to Miami for his final season of eligibility via the graduate transfer rule in June. He spoke to reporters for the first time since arriving at the school on Monday and made it perfectly clear why he chose to play for the Hurricanes.
“I didn’t come here to be the backup,” Heaps said, per the Miami Herald. “I made this decision for a reason. I came here to play, but you have to earn that. No one is going to give that to you, and that’s what I knew coming into this situation and that’s what I wanted. That’s the only way you’re going to earn your teammates’ respect and gain their confidence. This is my last year and it’s extremely important for me to perform well.”
Heaps has had a bumpy ride to Miami. Coming out of high school, he was the top-rated pro-style quarterback in the class of 2010. As a true freshman at BYU, Heaps threw for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns – both school records for a Cougars freshman QB. He couldn’t keep up the momentum in his sophomore year. He started only six games, throwing nine touchdowns and eight interceptions, and then decided to transfer to Kansas after the season.
After sitting out the 2012 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Heaps split time for the Jayhawks in 2013. He completed just 49 percent of his passes and threw more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (8).
Heaps didn’t quite fit in with the direction of Kansas’ new offensive coordinator, so he opted to transfer again following spring practice in April.
At Miami, the depth chart is wide open. Presumed starter Ryan Williams, also a fifth-year senior, went down with a torn ACL in April. Miami’s other scholarship quarterbacks, all underclassmen, have never played a down, so Heaps is a pretty clear favorite – at least in terms of experience – to win the job.
Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said last week that Heaps has been "tremendous” and really fits in with what the team is doing offensively. For Heaps, he said the transition to Miami has been a comfortable one.
“I’ve tried to come in and be nobody but myself and show these guys how much I love the game of football,” Heaps said. “It has gone extremely well. These guys are great. They embraced me and welcomed me in, and I’m very grateful for that.”
If Heaps comes out on top in the Canes’ QB competition, he’ll face a big test right away in a primetime, Monday night road contest at Louisville.
For more Miami news, visit CaneSport.com.
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