Jake Heaps is quickly becoming one of the nation's top high school recruits. This season, his junior year, he led the Skyline Spartans to another state championship. I went to a few of his games, and the kid is impressive.
Here is an article that Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune wrote about Heaps. It appeared in today's paper.
The 12-year-old was itching for a workout. His parents phoned quarterbacks guru Greg Barton.
Barton runs a football academy out of Beaverton, Ore., that holds camps throughout the Northwest. When Barton took that call one Sunday afternoon, he recommended that the anxious family attend one of the group workouts the next week.
The suggestion wasn’t good enough.
So, the Heaps family – with Jake, a sixth grader at the time – drove from Sammamish to Beaverton, and beat Barton to the field where the parties were scheduled to meet for a private evaluation.“The parents didn’t want the meeting. Jake wanted it,” Barton recalled about that 2004 one-on-one session. “He’s the type of kid who’s a really nice person, but when he gets something in his head, he goes for it.”
Fast-forward to today. Heaps, who just finished his junior season at Skyline High School, where he’s led the Spartans to two state championships (one 3A, one 4A), yearns to be one of the top recruits in the country.
“It’s never been my family pushing me. It’s all been me. I’m self-driven, and I can stop all this in a heartbeat and my parents would be supportive,” Heaps said. “This is something I’ve wanted to do from an early age, to get better no matter what the cost is ... and let hard work take you far. I take pride in myself and in my game, and I’ve put my time and effort into the sport, and given up a lot of things to be at this level. It won’t stop any time soon.”
With roughly 20 NCAA Division I scholarship offers in hand, from some of the best programs in the country, Heaps headlines the junior class – players who are Northwest Nuggets candidates for next year.
“He’s got the Jimmy Clausen approach going,” said SuperPrep recruiting editor and founder Allen Wallace, referring to the 2006 Hall Trophy winner as the nation’s No. 1 player out of Oaks Christian of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Clausen is now the starting quarterback at Notre Dame.
“His name is being bandied about as the top recruit, the underclassmen with all the offers from major schools, without them even evaluating him.”
Heaps is a rising star, and has one more season to build on a career of already eye-popping numbers – 5,991 passing yards, 69 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Skyline is 28-0 in Heaps’ two seasons as the starter.
His intangibles may be just as impressive. His vision gives him an unusual ability to escape trouble. His leadership qualities brought Steve Spurrier from South Carolina for a look, and earned him early scholarship offers from virtually every Pacific-10 Conference program outside of Southern California.
“He’s not 6-foot-4. He’s not going to run a 4.6 in the 40 (yard dash),” said Mat Taylor, the Skyline coach. “But you know what, he is going to win football games.”
Heaps’ recruiting plan has been in motion for years. He’s preparing to fulfill his high school graduation requirements early so he can enroll at a school in time for spring ball.
“We had heard about quarterbacks going early, and it was an idea that if it was something we needed to do, it’s something we can do,” Heaps said. “I didn’t think it would happen, but talking to coaches, they’re chomping at the bit to get me in (early).
“It sucks you don’t get to finish out your senior year with your class. ... But on the football side of things, if you go, the sky is the limit.”
The state of Washington never had the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation before Heaps came along. Wallace said a case could be made that he could be the top overall player, too. The quarterback expects to make a decision on a college before his senior season starts in September.
“Jonathan Stewart (Timberline High product) and other top players ... I’ve wanted to be in their shoes since I was little,” Heaps said. “It would be selfish and arrogant of me to sit back and take this experience lightly.”He says he's going to decide before the start of his senior year. And then, to top it off, he's trying to graduate high school by December so he can enroll at the university of his choice and be ready for spring ball with his new team. Sounds to me like he is trying to get prepared for his college career. And not just as a backup or redshirt freshman. He'll be vying for the starting job with that college.
Oh, and Heaps is 28-0 as a starter. All the guy does is win football games. Sounds like a guy UW better start recruiting really hard. Especially since he's in their own back yard.
But then again, I did find the photo posted above on the University of Florida Web site in an article talking about Heaps.