Former KU QB Jake Heaps getting another shot at the NFL
Do your best to hide your shock after reading this, but former Kansas University quarterback Jake Heaps is getting another shot at the NFL.
Earlier this week, Heaps revealed that he had signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks — his hometown team — and will attend minicamps and attempt to make the Seahawks’ roster or practice squad this offseason and preseason.
It’s a long shot, sure, but it is a shot and I’m well aware that many people — mostly likely many of you reading this — never believed that Heaps would do much after leaving Kansas following his junior season.
In reality, he didn’t, but you have to give the guy credit for continuing to chase his dream and play the game he loves.
After leaving KU, following one season as the Jayhawks' starter — as it goes around here lately, he was benched for the final three games of 2013 in favor of Montell Cozart — Heaps played his senior season at Miami, Florida, where he appeared in four games and completed just 6 of 12 passes for 51 yards while serving as the back-up to freshman Brad Kaaya.
That reality continued a trend for Heaps, who saw his production dip every season after his freshman year at BYU, where the former five-star QB began his promising career by setting several BYU freshman passing records.
That 2010 season, in which Heaps threw for 2,300+ yards and 15 touchdowns went down as easily the best of his college career. During his lone season at KU, Heaps threw for 1,410 yards with 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing just 49 percent of his passes.
Sure, Heaps’ ability was some of the problem, but the bigger issue, at least the way I always saw it, was KU’s inability to protect him and surround him with quality playmakers who could catch the football.
That’s not to put all of the blame for that poor offensive season on Heaps’ supporting cast. It definitely was a shared effort and both parties played a big role in the Jayhawks watching their struggles continue.
But I always thought both Heaps and Dayne Crist got a little too much blame for the KU offense's inability to produce. So it goes with the quarterback position.
Despite not playing much at Miami, Heaps received his first crack at pro football with the New York Jets. He made a couple of cuts, appeared in a preseason game or two and almost made the team. The reason? The guy can throw the football when the offensive line gives him time to do just that. He’s got a live arm and understands offenses very well. He’s just not that great at improvising on the fly and getting out of trouble, which makes Seattle’s decision to add him a head scratcher at the very least. Heaps’ skills in no way remind me of Seattle starter Russell Wilson, unless you’re talking about how both are quality young men with a serious competitive drive and passion for the game of football.
Regardless, it’s cool to see Heaps get another shot just the same as it was to see Crist get his crack at the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens after his rough one-year run at Kansas.
Both are great dudes who did all they could to help Kansas and truly committed to the cause while they were Jayhawks. Both also made some lifelong friends at KU and have nothing but good things to say about their experience here, even with the record and the stats not being what either of them hoped.
That’s the sign of quality individuals and that, along with his rocket right arm, probably has as much to do as anything with Heaps getting this second chance.
Best of luck to him and what a cool opportunity to try out for the team you grew up rooting for.