Recruiting rankings vary by each publication to a certain degree and generally a decent indicator of how each star rated player will turn out at the next level. BYU fans, as they should be, are very excited for Jake Heaps who is already on campus and impressing coaches. Heaps was able to bring in other top recruits such as WR Ross Apo, RB Joshua Quezada and others. Heaps also enrolled early in January to battle Riley Nelson for the open starter spot with Max Hall graduating from BYU.
He is the number one quarterback according to Rivals and Scout, however ESPNU has him as the seventh rated passer. Nationally Heaps is first by Scout, 63rd by Rivals, and not ranked in the ESPNU 150. A side note on ESPNU, they have zero quarterbacks in the top 150 and this quarterback crop seems to be one of the weakest in years.
More evidence that this class is not up to par with the past eight is that zero quarterbacks have a five star rating by Rivals compared to three in '09, three in '08, four in '07, three in '06, two in '05, five in '04, one in '03 and five in '02. Also, in that span every class had at least one quarterback in the top ten. These stats only go back to what Rivals has in their online database which began in 2002.
This is not to scare BYU fans in to thinking that Heaps is not going to pan out or that a Ben Olson situation could happen again. Yes, Olson was the number one quarterback recruit and number four in the country, but his situation was different in that promises were broken and he just happened to come to BYU during their worst seasons in nearly 20 years.
The main concern to me about Jake Heaps is that there is a wide range of evaluations with one comparing him to Chad Pennington. Now, being compared to a guy who had a solid career at Marshall and made a lengthy career to the NFL is not a bad thing, but it is not what the best quarterback in the country strives to be.
Also what does Scout see in him, they have Heaps number one overall player and five quarterbacks are in their top 100 compared to zero from ESPNU and only two for Rivals. Now, I am not clear how Scout historically ranks their quarterbacks but the discrepancy seems to be large between the three main services to believe that the quarterback class might be overvalued at Scout just because they are the glamor positions.
The perceived lower level of quarterback play could be the reason that Heaps was not as heavily recruited by traditional high-profile schools. He did receive offers from Cal, Notre Dame, Washington, and Tennessee. Those are power schools in name, but a closer look shows that Cal has been the best of the bunch over the past five years, Notre Dame has been a mess, Washington had zero wins in 2008 and Tennessee has been only an average in the SEC. There are no power schools like Texas, USC or any SEC schools going after the top rated quarterback in the country. It could be that the 2011 class has a better set of quarterbacks, so not all of the big schools kept after Heaps.
This is not meant to be a bashing of a kid who has yet to play a single down for BYU and who knows if he will be the next Ty Detmer and win a Heisman trophy or a flop like Ben Olson who transferred after he served a Mormon mission, and ended up being injury prone while finishing his career at UCLA.
BYU fans need to be realistic with this kid -- yes kid he is only 18 years old -- and not expect the world just because he is the top quarterback in the country and dreaming of BCS bowls, national titles, or a Heisman Trophy. Even if his ranking happens to be overvalued and ends up a top ten quarterback when the 2010 class is done with their career. That should be a good enough career to continue what BYU has expected from their quarterback play and fans should be happy with that.