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Taking a Closer Look at QB Jake Heaps

The senior transfer signal caller from Kansas via BYU has a chance to start for the 'Canes. But what does he bring to the table??

Tom Pennington

Back in 2010, Jake Heaps was a highly regarded recruit.

In fact many services ranked him as the best pocket passer in the class.  Before picking BYU, he was heavily recruited by schools like LSU, Tennessee, and California amongst others.

Blake Bell, Tyler Gabbert, and Nick Montana were some of the names he found himself ahead of as a 5 star pure passer.

And as a freshman, his play lived up the hype.  Heaps set BYU freshman passing records with 2,316 yards and 15 TDs to go along with a very solid 57.2 completion %.

However in his sophomore campaign the numbers failed to improve.  Heaps seemed to take a step back.  And eventually it cost him his job.

So what happened?

Kevin Shaefer of SB Nation's BYU site, Vanquish the Foe, gave us this insight:

"Outside of being a little short, Heaps has all the physical abilities to be a successful pocket passer -- good arm, release, and accuracy. There's a reason that Heaps was such a highly sought-after player out of high school and performs so well in a camp or practice setting when he has a no-contact jersey on.

The problem for Heaps come in live action when he starts to feel the defensive pressure on him. When this happens he falls into bad habits like throwing off his back foot and overall just becomes a very poor decision maker. At BYU, Heaps also struggled in taking on the leadership role of the starting quarterback and never seemed to be able to get the team completely behind him, which is probably what lost him the starting job.

I think Heaps' reason for leaving BYU was pretty straight forward. He wanted to start at quarterback and he had lost the opportunity at BYU."

And last season, is his one year at Kansas under Charlie Weis, things did not get much better.

Heaps was incredibly inefficient  for the Jayhawks, completing just 49% of his passes with 8TDs and 10 picks. And again, he lost his starting job.

True to Shaefer's point, Heaps looked poised and accurate in the Kansas Spring Game last year (wearing red no contact jersey #9. His touch on a very nice TD pass at 1:36 is especially impressive):

However Shaefer added,

"Based on what I've seen from Jake Heaps on the field for both BYU and Kansas I haven't seen the ability to be a consistent starter playing at this level. It would be nice to see Heaps finally reach the potential he had as a young prospect, but I just don't see that happening."

So what can be expected of Heaps in Coral Gables, and why did the staff offer him a scholarship?

Simply put, it would appear that Kevin Olsen is either not ready to be the starter or needs competition to hopefully bring out his best.

Additionally the staff clearly is hoping to redshirt both Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.

So rather then throw a not quite prepared Olsen into the fire, the staff has found a veteran (albeit one with lots of baggage) to keep the reigns warm until Ryan Williams recovers.

Could Olsen still win the job?  Sure.

If Kaaya lights it up in August, will they possibly burn his redshirt?  Possible.

Does Heaps have the abilities to overcome his shaky past and be the starter through out 2014?  Again, not out of the realm of possibility.

In some of his highlights he is even reminiscent of former 'Cane Brock Berlin in how he moves and delivers the ball.

But when you break it all down, what Heaps likely brings to Miami is a break glass in case of emergency (Olsen continues to struggle) option that makes an ahead of schedule return by Williams all the more important.