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Examining the situation facing KU quarterback Jake Heaps


Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps looks at the scoreboard after coming off the field against Texas Tech during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps looks at the scoreboard after coming off the field against Texas Tech during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

With rumors and speculation that Kansas University quarterback Jake Heaps is looking to transfer still unsolved, I thought I'd take a quick stab at clearing up a couple of things while we wait to see what happens.

First of all, it definitely seems possible that Heaps could transfer. It was the first thing that crossed my mind when KU named sophomore Montell Cozart the starter at the end of spring practices and seems logical for him to at least consider it.

But there probably is more to the decision facing Heaps than just Cozart being named the starter.

As you might have guessed, I've talked to KU coach Charlie Weis a lot during the past few years about transfers — both in and out — and the one thing he's always said about the topic is that players typically transfer for one of two reasons.

If the writing on the wall (or the depth chart) shows that playing time could be tough to come by, some guys look around for better opportunities and other places to play. That seems to be what Heaps is doing now and is the same thing he did when he left BYU to come to Kansas a couple of years ago. It doesn't mean he wasn't good enough to play at BYU or that he's not good enough to play here, just that the situation has changed to give others in front of him the first shot.

But transferring is not always that simple and it's not always about football or whether these guys are good enough to play at their current schools. A lot of good players transfer every year at all levels. But rarely do those types of guys leave because of football.

They leave programs because of philosophical changes, coaching changes or situations in their personal lives that make a change of scenery desired and even necessary. All of that could be contributing to Heaps' decision at the moment. But current KU wide receiver Nick Harwell is a perfect example of one such player.

Harwell left Miami (Ohio) prior to last season not because he wasn't good enough to play there — they surely would have loved to have his talent around for one more season — but because he was looking for a fresh start. He got it with Weis and Kansas and now is poised to be the top receiving option on a team that plays in a better conference and in front of many more eyes of NFL scouts on a weekly basis. That can only help Harwell's professional future and, from all accounts, the move to Kansas has done wonders personally for Harwell, who has been a model teammate, student, leader and hard worker since he arrived.

Heaps is going to do what he believes is best for him, as well he should. That may mean moving on and that may mean sticking around to close out his college career with a bunch of guys he's gotten close with and bled and cried and sweat with during the past couple of seasons.

According to a couple of people I've talked with about the Heaps situation, the whole thing could be over quickly or could drag on into the summer. I haven't talked with Jake about it — players are pretty much off limits in the summer — but I'm sure he's not taking this decision lightly and I'm sure the reason it has gone on this long is because he's doing his homework and thinking long and hard about what he wants to do and what the right thing is for him. Only he can make that decision.

But I think it's important to remember, even if Heaps does leave, that it's not because he wasn't good enough to play here or wasn't welcome. He might not be the starter, but seeing how KU has played multiple quarterbacks during three of the four post-Todd Reesing era seasons, such designation does not exactly mean he's not playing either.

We'll keep an eye on what happens and surely have more as the story continues to unfold.


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