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Top QB says he'll graduate early, compete for 2010 job
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The standing-room crowd at Iggy's Sports Grill downtown would have gone home happy merely having seen Jake Heaps pull a blue Brigham Young hat from the bag at his feet to announce his college choice to cheers.

Instead, Heaps called a trick play Thursday in his first act as the Cougars' quarterback of the future, introducing Texas receiver Ross Apo and California linebacker Zac Stout as fellow cornerstones in BYU's 2010 recruiting class.

Heaps, who has thrown for 69 touchdowns while leading Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash., to state titles as both a sophomore and junior, is considered the top quarterback prospect in the country according to some recruiting Web sites.

The 17-year-old, who will graduate early and expects to take part in spring practice next year, opted for BYU over home state Washington, while acknowledging some hesitation with choosing to play in a non-BCS conference.

"I don't think the BCS should determine where I should go to a school," Heaps said. "I don't think for any young man in the country that's how they should determine their school.

"They should go to a school where they feel that's the best program for them, and unfortunately I think the BCS kind of takes that away."

Heaps added that he couldn't be certain what would happen to the BCS as it faces Congressional scrutiny, saying of the Mountain West Conference: "It's not a conference that should be taken lightly."

Along with Utah State transfer Riley Nelson, Heaps is expected to battle for the job as Max Hall's successor in 2010 along with James Lark and Jason Munns.

"To be honest, coming to BYU is probably one of the tougher places for him to compete over other places," said Steve Heaps, Jake's father.

Heaps made his commitment a day ahead of BYU's annual Junior Day amid much fanfare. While a highlight reel of Heaps' touchdown passes played on every television in the restaurant, a publicist coordinated the announcement and handed out fact sheets.

But the prized recruit enjoyed sharing the spotlight as much as anything, introducing Apo followed by Stout. Heaps came to know Apo in January and Stout a couple of months later, helping persuade them to join him in Provo.

"I know that I'm only one player and there is a whole team of us," Heaps said, "and that BYU is a tremendous program and I need more than just me.

"There's 22 players out there on offense and defense, and it takes more to win a national championship and to win a conference championship."

Apo had committed to Texas before reconsidering his decision. "I always kept BYU in mind because of the environment," he said, "and they throw the ball a lot."

Stout said his decision might have caught even the BYU coaching staff by surprise. He plays at Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, Calif., where he is teammates with Nick Montana, son of Joe Montana and another of the country's top quarterback recruits.

"This isn't about Nick Montana or anything, but you are looking at the No. 1 quarterback over here," Stout said. He chose BYU over Oregon State and Nebraska, with Oaks Christian set to play Skyline in an ESPN-televised game this season.

Heaps said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall pumped his fist in excitement after learning of the decision, which came after losing out on top linebacker Manti Te'o to Notre Dame in February.

"He's come very close to land a top recruit, and so seeing that smile across his face when I told him, it was priceless," Heaps said.

Chris Fetters, the Northwest recruiting analyst for Scout.com, called Heaps the best quarterback prospect to come out of Washington since Brock Huard and said he most often is compared to Drew Brees in size and ability.

"These type of kids come around once a generation," Fetters said.

Fetters noted that Utah's Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama might have helped convince Heaps that he could find success at BYU. He added that it would have been unprecedented for Heaps to have chosen Washington coming off an 0-12 season.

Even with new Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian making the push for Heaps, Fetters said, "There's just way too many unknowns for him to think that he could bank his future on what was happening."

Heaps said he had not decided about serving an LDS mission during his time at BYU. He said he didn't feel pressure to choose the Cougars, but added, "I think it just fits in perfectly with what I'm trying to do and how I want to live my life."

rsiler@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">rsiler@sltrib.com

Jake Heaps

Quarterback

Skyline High, Sammamish, Wash.

6-foot-2, 200 pounds

Considered the top quarterback recruit in the country, Heaps was offered scholarships by 26 schools before choosing BYU over Washington

Ross Apo

Wide receiver

The Oakridge School, Arlington, Texas

6-foot-3, 192 pounds

Apo originally committed to Texas before reconsidering. Chose BYU because of its distraction-free environment and pro-style offense.

Zac Stout

Middle linebacker

Oaks Christian School, Westlake Village, Calif.,

6-foot-2, 220 pounds

A teammate of top-rated quarterback Nick Montana, Stout chose BYU over Oregon State and Nebraska and is a fan of the 3-4 scheme.

Review

At a news conference in downtown Salt Lake, Jake Heaps announces he will attend BYU.

» Two other top recruits join Heaps in committing, receiver Ross Apo and linebacker Zac Stout.

Trifecta » Heaps is joined by two other top recruits who commit to BYU.
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