Can Jake Heaps Make Miami an ACC Contender in 2014?

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterJune 16, 2014

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The old college try is now the old graduate student try. That's how you can sum up Jake Heaps' college career to date.

Heaps left high school in 2010 as a touted 4-star recruit on Other sites like had Heaps listed as the No. 1 quarterback prospect that year.

Despite the hype, it's been a tough go for Heaps. Things didn't work out for him at BYU after two years, so he transferred to Kansas in time to compete for the 2013 season. That lasted one year, with Heaps completing a mere 49 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Entering his final year of eligibility, the Miami Hurricanes' official website reports that Heaps has been added to the team's roster to essentially help bridge the gap for life after Stephen Morris.

Ryan Williams, a Memphis transfer, appeared to be the heir apparent to Morris, but sustained a torn ACL in the spring.

His status for the 2014 season is questionable, though his mother previously told the Miami Herald's Susan Miller Degnan that her son plans to return in time for the Sept. 20 game against Nebraska.

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In any case, Miami is working with Heaps and redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen for now. By bringing in Heaps, Miami is adding depth to the position and can be more patient with true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier. 

It also shows that head coach Al Golden isn't sold on Olsen just yet.

"This time of year we always have our eyes open," Golden said during an ACC coaches conference in April about bringing in a transfer quarterback.

Olsen is the young talent, and Miller Degnan suggests he technically exited spring as the No. 1 guy but doesn't have any game experience. At least the same thing can't be said about Heaps—even if that experience is dicey.

Golden's choice boils down to which player gives the Hurricanes the best chance to win, but he's taking a risk either way.

If Golden goes with Heaps, it will demonstrate that the grad transfer was able to take command of the offense in a short period of time, developed good chemistry with the team's receivers and tight ends, and knows the playbook.

That, or Olsen really isn't ready to take the reins.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports opines that Heaps has a "good chance" of winning the starting job. He wouldn't have joined Miami if he didn't have a good chance. With programs looking for quick fixes at quarterback, grad transfers are en vogue.

The question is whether Heaps is the so-called "missing piece" for Miami. 

There's talent around the quarterback spot, for sure. The Hurricanes have playmakers on offense—namely running back Duke Johnson—and a good core of returning starters off last year's defense.

Still, that's a side of the ball that has to improve after finishing no higher than 10th in the conference in major categories.

The ACC's Coastal Division is wide-open this year. Miami has as good a shot as just about anyone to win it, even if the quarterback spot is a question mark.

That question mark may not be answered with Heaps, Olsen or anyone else.


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All stats courtesy of