by Taylor Barton
For weeks now rumors and speculation have circled that it was imminent Jake Heaps would be departing BYU. On Monday, December 5th it became official. In an exclusive interview with Taylor Barton and NEI, Jake revealed that he spoke with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall and asked for his release.
Jake was the #1 ranked QB in the country his senior year out of Skyline High School in Sammamish, WA. After a hard fought recruiting battle that saw schools from every region of the country vying for his services, the signal caller chose Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU Cougars. He earned the starting job early in his true freshmen season and quickly became one of the best QB’s in the country. He not only entered this year the unquestioned starter at Quarterback, he was also tabbed as a preseason All American. Not everything has gone as planned this season and the situation got rocky. Riley Nelson was named the starter mid season and Jake was relegated to the back-up role. After an injury to Nelson, Jake was once again thrust into action and performed extremely well, winning both games and putting up phenomenal numbers. During the course of this time, rumors and speculation swirled about the situation and what was in store for Jake’s future. It all culminated in his request for a release from the BYU program on Sunday. Below is a conversation between Jake Heaps and Taylor Barton.
TB: Hey Jake, how are you feeling right now?
JH: I’ve got a lot of mixed emotions. This wasn’t an easy decision.
TB: There has been a lot of talk about you leaving BYU and speculation as to where you’ll transfer. How long ago did you make this decision, and is there a school you have in mind?
JH: Well 1st off, I want to thank everyone for the support they’ve given me. This has been an incredibly hard time for my wife and me, and she’s been an absolute rock. I thought choosing a program when I was being recruited out of high school was hard, but it pales in comparison to making this decision. I have made so many friends here, and not just on the football team. People that will be friends of mine the rest of my life. I really respect and like Coach Mendenhall, he’s a great man. I’ve learned a lot about football from Coach Doman. There are so many great guys on this team, it’s going to be really hard to leave them. I’ve had some time to think about this decision and it’s not one I came to lightly. I have no idea where I’m going to end up, and haven’t talked to anyone. There are a lot of great programs out there, and I’m excited to do some research and find the right fit.
TB: Why now and not after the bowl game?
JH: Out of respect for the coaches and players on the team. It wouldn’t have been fair to them if I was going thru meetings, practices, and recruiting weekends knowing the whole time I wanted to and was going to transfer. I also can’t do something half heartedly. If I’m somewhere I want to be fully committed to it. Though I would have been there physically, I wouldn’t have fully been there mentally. And another reason is that I need to figure out where I’m going to be next year. If I’m going to enroll somewhere in January, I have a very limited amount of time to make a decision. I’m also married and have a wife to think about. Wherever I end up, we’ve got to get our living situation taken care of and that takes time. So overall, I thought the timing of this decision was best for everyone involved.
TB: What are your plans from here?
JH: Well, believe it or not I’m a student first and still have finals to take this semester. So that’s my first priority. Once I’m granted my release, my wife and I will sit down and talk. I learned a lot from going through the recruiting process out of high school. I’ve also matured a lot as a person and player from my time here in Provo. So I know the things to look for in a program and the questions to ask a coach.
TB: Is there a timeline for making a decision?
JH: Obviously the sooner the better. But I’m not going to rush a decision just to make one. The first thing I have to do is find out who’s interested in me. From there I’ll sit down with my wife and the people involved in helping me make this decision.
TB: Thanks for the visit Jake. Anything else you want to say?
JH: Just that I have the utmost respect for the BYU program; its coaches, players, alumni, and student body. I had a great experience there. But it’s time for me to close that chapter of my life and start a new one. This has been a big weight lifted off my shoulders. This decision is behind me and I’m looking forward to what’s in store. And I also want to let everyone know that this will be the only interview I do this week. That will give my wife and I some time to gather our thoughts and start planning out our future. When the time is right and I have more answers to the questions people have, I’ll talk to everyone then.