When you think of a talented high school quarterback, you probably picture an all-around athlete. The type of kid who plays multiple sports, is versatile, and pulls chicks like a Christmas sale at The Gap. And then there’s Jake Heaps.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Skyline High School quarterback play on three occasions this year. Twice against Bothell, once against Oaks Christian of California. He’s an incredibly gifted pass-thrower who is worthy of all the accolades he has received, without question. He tosses an accurate deep ball, makes good reads, and spreads the ball around to all his receivers.
That said, the kid defies our image of a high school quarterback. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never seen a less athletic-looking prep quarterback who was this good until Heaps came along. Which makes him an absolute anomaly in terms of his prowess on the gridiron.
There are the many good things he does, which you already know about. The bad things, however, are less evident.
First off, Heaps is suh-low. Moves like Cecil Fielder running on a full tank of chili dogs. Maybe that’s a good thing, though. He won’t have any problem keeping his feet in the pocket in college.
Second, he’s not an athlete. He doesn’t play other sports, looks like he’d have trouble dribbling a basketball more than once, and is schooled in one trade: throwing the football. It’s the kind of thing that could come back to haunt him later in life, whether it be with injuries, an inability to adapt to adverse circumstances, or the adjustment he will need to make physically when he heads off to college in a year.
Third, I’ve never seen a high school quarterback slide until I watched Jake Heaps. Really? A slide in high school? That’s like wearing two or three rubbers to make the magic happen, or carrying a man-purse. It just isn’t something that occurs at the prep level, and it’s flat-out weird. Scouts might see it as a sign of maturity. Fans and opponents see it for what it really is: fruit stripe bubblegum.
In the annals of gutsy, gritty high school quarterbacks, what do we make of Heaps? He’s the figurehead of one of the most prolific prep offenses in state history, an unquestioned All-State selection, and one of the best players in his graduating class in the entire country. At the same time, he’s also soft, lead-footed, and opposed to body contact. So who is he, really?
Let the debate begin.