The weight was finally lifted from Skyline quarterback Jake Heaps’ shoulders this afternoon.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior officially announced in a press conference at Iggy’s Sports Grill in downtown Salt Lake City that he will play his college football Brigham Young University. Utah television station Fox 13 Now streamed the event live on its Web site.
“I felt like now this is the time,” Heaps said, when asked why he made the decision now. “I’ve done a lot of thorough research and at one point I was just waiting for that epiphany to come. Finally, as of recently, I had received that and I knew that BYU is the place for me and I’m just lucky I found it.”
Heaps, who is rated the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the nation by Scout.com had 26 collegiate offers, but had narrowed his choices down to five: BYU, Washington, LSU, California and Tennessee — with BYU and Washington atop the list.
Heaps, who belongs to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left little doubt of his decision Wednesday. He said in a release that he would make an official announcement from Salt Lake City Thursday afternoon — one day before the BYU football program held its Junior Day.
There was an element of surprise, however.
Two other highly-touted junior recruits, wide receiver Ross Apo of the Oakridge School in Arlingon, Texas, and Zach Stout, a linebacker from Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., joined Heaps in the announcement.
Heaps indicated that the three, who became good friends over the last few months, made a decision to go to a school together.
“Not until recently have we decided to find the right place for us,” Heaps said. “When it came down to it we all looked at schools that we could all go together. It just so happened that BYU is the place. It wasn’t until recent discussions with each other that we found this out.”
Apo is a 6-3, 193-pound receiver, who had previously verbally committed to the University of Texas.
“Jake and I discussed the things that are most important to us we agreed that an environment with limited distractions would be in our best interest,” Apo said. “We agreed that a pro-style offense that utilizes the passing game is key. We also looked at the history of winning both recently and historically.”
Heaps was the first to approach the table Thursday afternoon. With a slew of television and radio microphones in front of him, he thanked family, friends and coaches. He also thanked the 26 schools that recruited him.
“Ever since I’ve been a little kid I’ve just dreamed of this opportunity and I never thought it would be like this,” he said. “I just want to thank (the coaches) for their respect to me and my family.”
Heaps then pulled his chair back, not saying where he was going to go to school, reached under his chair and put a BYU hat on his head — all to a thunderous applause.
Heaps has a 28-0 record as a two-year starter for the Spartans, along with two state championships. He threw for 2,910 yards and 38 touchdowns his junior season with only four interceptions.