Jake Heaps piles up honors at college level
August 23, 2011
By Bob Taylor
Brigham Young University sophomore Jake Heaps, one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in Skyline High School history, is earning preseason attention.
Of course, accolades are nothing new for Heaps, who earned all-state and national honors during his Skyline days.
Among his recent honors is being named to the 2011 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List. One reason why Heaps is on the list is because of the sensational freshman season he had last fall for the Cougars.
Last season, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Heaps broke every freshman Brigham Young University quarterback record, including wins, games started, passing yardage, completions and touchdowns. He started 10 games in 2010, completing 219 of 383 passes for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The former Spartan great, who led Skyline to three straight state championships, could follow the accolades of former BYU quarterbacks Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Ty Detmer. Each of these BYU greats won the O’Brien Award — McMahon in 1981, Young in 1983, and Detmer in 1990 and 1991.
This year’s list, compiled by a subset of The O’Brien National Selection Committee, featured 38 of the nation’s top collegiate quarterbacks who were picked based on their performance last year and their expectations heading into the 2011 season. Heaps is one of eight sophomores on the list.
The field of candidates will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists Oct. 24. The O’Brien Foundation and selection committee will announce three finalists Nov. 21 and the winner will be announced Dec. 8.
In addition to the O’Brien attention, Heaps is on the cover of the Athlon Sports College Football 2011 preseason football magazine. He shares the cover with Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Boise State’s Kellen Moore. Luck is regarded as the No. 1 quarterback in the nation and the likely top pick in next year’s National Football League draft. Moore, from Prosser, has been one of the nation’s premier signal callers, too. So Heaps is in fine company.
Where are they now?
List of local athletes playing college football this fall based on most current rosters available:
Heaps has come a long way in a year. This time last year, he entered fall camp expecting to share quarterback duties with Riley Nelson. The two shared the position in BYU’s season-opening 23-17 victory against Washington. Heaps completed 13 of 23 passes for 131 yards against the Huskies. When Nelson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Florida State on Sept. 18, Heaps became the starter for the remainder of the season.
He ended it with a record-setting MVP performance against the University of Texas-El Paso in the New Mexico Bowl. He was the first BYU freshman quarterback to start in a bowl game. Heaps completed 24 of 34 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns in the Cougars’ 52-24 victory.
The four touchdown passes gave Heaps 15 on the season, another record for BYU freshmen quarterbacks. He broke Detmer’s record by two.
Heaps was selected to the College Football News Freshman All-American Team as an honorable mention.
Besides all of the football attention, the other big news in Heaps’ life came in late June this year when he married Brooke Shaw, whose father was a former BYU player.
Patriots moving in different directions
Three of Liberty High School’s standouts from last fall are moving on to the college ranks. Two of them are actually changing places after committing to other schools.
Quarterback Trey Wheeler is heading north of the border. He signed a letter of intent to play for Simon Fraser University, which is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Simon Fraser is the only Canadian team in that conference, which includes Central Washington.
Wheeler had been recruited by several schools and was offered a scholarship from the University of Wyoming.
“He went up to Simon Fraser and liked the program and the academics. He felt it would be a good fit,” Liberty coach Steve Valach said.
Chandler Jenkins, the 3A KingCo Conference offensive player of the year last fall, is a walk-on at Washington State University. Jenkins had originally committed to the Air Force Academy. He is scheduled to play as a slot receiver for the Cougars.
Jenkins joins the Simone brothers, Gino and Jordan, who are former Skyline standouts, at WSU. Gino is a wide receiver and Jordan is a safety.
Jake Bainton, a standout receiver and defensive back for Liberty, had signed a national letter of intent with Central Washington University. However, Valach said Bainton has changed his mind and plans to play for American River Community College in California.
The three former Liberty stars helped the Patriots reach the state playoffs the past three seasons, including the 3A state title game in 2009.
Other Liberty grads who will be playing college ball this fall are Nolan Liefer, Marcelle Bell and Robert Blair at Montana-Western; Cameron Talley at Linfield; Coleton Langdon at Portland State; Taylor Hamann at the University of Puget Sound; and Justin Whitman and Rob Marlow at Pacific Lutheran.
Bradley battling for No. 1 job
Joey Bradley, who was a standout quarterback at Issaquah, is vying for the No. 1 job at North Dakota University. He is one of three candidates for the position.
Bradley transferred to North Dakota from Diablo Valley Community College in California. He led all California community college quarterbacks in passing yards (3,656 yards) and touchdown passes (33) for Diablo Valley last fall.
In the North Dakota spring game, Bradley showed promise as he hit nine of 17 passes for 105 yards.
Another former Eagle expecting to have a big season is tailback Grant Gellatly, a sophomore at Cornell. Gellatly led his team and all Ivy League freshmen in rushing with 437 yards last fall. He also caught 15 passes for 82 yards.
Two Issaquah graduates are headed for Linfield College. Defensive back Adam Dondoyano and Evan Peterson will play for the Wildcats.
Dondoyano has recovered from a torn ACL, which kept him out of action for most of last fall. Peterson was an all-league receiver for the Eagles, and set school season and career records. Dondoyano and Peterson will be roommates at Linfield.
Jacob Everson, a redshirt freshman, will be playing for Minot State this fall.
Spartans starting at Eastern
Skyline graduates Jase Butorac and Tyler Washburn are listed as starters at Eastern Washington University, the defending NCAA Championship Sub-division national champions.
Butorac, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, is listed as the starter at right guard on offense. He is a redshirt freshman. However, he impressed Eastern coaches for his efforts on the scout team last fall. Butorac was selected as the offensive scout team player of the year.
Washburn is listed as a co-starter at strongside inside linebacker. He did not play spring ball because of surgery following an injury late in the 2010 season.
Washburn started 12 games last season. He had one of the biggest plays of the season for the Eagles. Washburn returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Eagles’ 41-31 victory against Villanova in the semifinals.
Evan Day, another Skyline grad, is listed as a reserve defensive end for Eastern. Like Butorac, Day is a redshirt freshman. He was selected as Eastern’s defensive scout team player of the year last fall.
Joining the three Spartans is Issaquah’s Jay Deines, freshman offensive lineman.
The Eagles open their season Sept. 3 at the University of Washington.
The Eastern-UW game will resemble a Skyline alumni game. While Butorac, Washburn and Day will suit up for Eastern, the Huskies have former Spartans in wide receiver William Chandler, defensive end Connor Cree, linebacker Cooper Pelluer and wide receiver Kasen Williams.