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Jake Heaps gets fresh start at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (ABC 4 Sports) - After a rough two years in Provo, former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps is the starting quarterback at Kansas.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (ABC 4 Sports) - Jake Heaps has seen his share of ups and downs.

From being the top-rated high school quarterback in the country, to setting freshman passing records at BYU, to getting benched, to transferring, Heaps has seen it all.

"It was really tough, because I wanted it to work so badly there," Heaps said. "You don't go into a situation thinking it won't work out. I was 100 percent dedicated to being a BYU Cougar."

But things didn't work out for Heaps in Provo. He was supposed to be the next great BYU quarterback with a future in the NFL on the horizon. But after a promising freshman season, in which he set numerous freshman school records, it all fell apart for Heaps.

He says splitting reps with Riley Nelson really hurt his progress.

"I didn't expect to be in a quarterback rotation, switching every other series," Heaps said. "That was difficult. That was really tough because now you're splitting reps in practice, and so I think it definitely took me some time to catch up."

Heaps never really did catch up. Entering the 2011 season as the unquestioned starter, Heaps struggled. He threw for three touchdowns and five interceptions as the Cougars limped to a 2-2 start. Midway through the Utah State game, Heaps was benched in favor of Nelson, and rarely saw the field again.

Perhaps Heaps was thrown into the fire too quickly. Maybe it was Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman's fault. Maybe Heaps just wasn't as good as everybody thought. Even Heaps doesn't understand what exactly went wrong.

"Sometimes you don't have an answer, and you don't know why it didn't work," Heaps said. "You wonder how could this happen. But I know that everything happens for a reason, and since I've been here, I've been extremely happy.

Heaps has since transferred to Kansas. After sitting out last season, he has earned the starting quarterback job and was even voted a team captain.

"He's done a great job," said Kansas quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus. "He wasn't able to play last year, but he a great job becoming one of the guys and becoming a member of this team. He's a leader and is a part of the Kansas community."

So while BYU fans may be rooting for Heaps to fail, he is eager to prove the doubters wrong.

"I really haven't been focused on the outside things and what other people are saying," Heaps said. "I know there are a lot of people doubting my abilities and what I'm capable of as a football player. I use that as motivation. I believe I have a lot of ability and a lot of talent, and I just have to continue to work hard."


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