He was once the golden boy of BYU football, the kind of player who could do no wrong. Later it seemed all Jake Heaps could do was wrong at BYU--on the gridiron. After he transferred to Kansas, he did even more wrong--mainly on the football field.
Now Heaps is at Miami, his third stop in Division I football, and he apparently can't prevail there, either. On Mon. Aug. 25 Miami announced that even though Heaps was projected to be the starter for the Hurricanes, the starter would in fact be freshman Brad Kaaya.
Strike three. For Heaps, his college football career has always been in turmoil. Whether he was being cocooned by overbearing coaches at BYU who knew better, or he was underwhelming in his second season in Provo or even in Lawrence in his third year, Heaps time on the gridiron has always carried with it some controversy.
A lack of playing time at Kansas--and productivity--propelled Heaps to play his last year of eligibility in the sunny tropics. Except Heaps faced two battles going into his one-year stint at Miami. One coming from freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya--the other from school president Donna Shalala, the one who openly endorsed Kaaya.
"I'm very fond of him," Shalala told The Associated Press in an interview prior to the announcement. "He's the real thing. Excellent young man, wonderful student, an excellent student. He's a first-class student."
For a school president to endorse a player like Kaaya smacks of undue influence--and outlines the battle Heaps faced before he even set foot at Miami. Once Heaps got there, an elbow injury in fall camp sidelined him for a few pivotal practices.
But, Ryan Williams--who was the starting QB last year before he was injured and Heaps and Kaapa came on board--endorses Kaaya as the starter even with Heaps' injury.
“It was an unfortunate accident in practice,” Williams said in an interview with the Miami Herald on Monday. “I didn’t think it really hurt his chances. Brad [Kaaya] had a great camp, it wasn’t like he was given it for no reason.”
So in the minds of the other Miami quarterbacks, Heaps may have been hurt--there still isn't a QB controversy brewing. In Heaps' mind, however, lies a different story--as told to the Herald on Monday.
Gone are those halcyon days during which BYU coaches prevented their prodigal son from speaking about anything publicly--replaced by a more verbose Heaps.
“It’s disappointing,” said Heaps, who transferred to UM from Kansas after spending his first two seasons at BYU. “It’s not the outcome I wanted. But at the end of the day, the coaches, that’s what they felt is best. You have to live with that. At that point your role changes, and you have to accept your role and just support Brad and be ready when your time comes.”