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Miami's Uncertainty at QB Continues with Addition of Jake Heaps

Al Golden

Al Golden

Miami’s quarterback situation is one of the biggest mysteries in the ACC for 2014, and coach Al Golden has added another option to start in Kansas transfer Jake Heaps. The addition of Heaps was announced through Miami’s official site.

Heaps was regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2010 signing class and played two seasons at BYU. In 2010, Heaps started 10 games with the Cougars and finished with 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns. After a solid freshman season, Heaps failed to build on that momentum as a sophomore and did not finish 2011 as the starter.

Heaps transferred to Kansas and sat out the 2012 season due to NCAA rules. And after a year to learn under Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks’ coaching staff, Heaps was expected to showcase some of the talent that earned him a spot among the nation’s top quarterback recruits. However, Heaps struggled in 2013 and finished with just 1,414 passing yards and a 49 percent completion percentage.

Once Montell Cozart was named Kansas’ starter in the spring, the writing was on the wall for Heaps’ future in Lawrence.

Since Heaps will have his degree from Kansas in June, he is eligible to participate at Miami in 2014. Although Heaps has struggled in recent years, this is a key pickup for Golden and his staff in terms of overall quarterback depth.

Ryan Williams was expected to start, but he suffered a torn ACL in spring practice and is out indefinitely. Williams is expected to return during the 2014 season. However, an official timetable or target date has not been set for his return.

If Williams doesn’t return until late in the season and Olsen struggles, Heaps would provide another option if true freshman Brad Kaaya isn’t ready.

Heaps certainly hasn’t played up to his recruiting hype, and it’s unlikely he will make a huge impact with Miami in 2014.

Considering the Hurricanes’ top quarterbacks (Olsen and Kaaya) are freshmen, adding an experienced arm like Heaps doesn’t hurt. However, does the decision to bring in Heaps signal anything about how the coaching staff feels about their quarterback options going into fall practice?

Although quarterback play is a huge concern for Miami, the offense has one of the top running backs in the nation in Duke Johnson, along with a solid offensive line. Expect to see Johnson and incoming freshman Joseph Yearby have a heavy workload early in the 2014 season.

When you combine a tough crossover with the Atlantic Division (Louisville and Florida State) and the uncertainty at quarterback, it’s just a small showcase of why Miami's spot in the Coastal Division is tough to pick. The Hurricanes have talent at the skill positions and on the offensive line, but this team still has major concerns at quarterback and on offense. 

2014 is shaping up to be a critical year for Al Golden. By no means is Golden on the hot seat, but Miami is still looking for its first appearance in the ACC Championship. With the rest of the Coastal also saddled with personnel concerns, the Hurricanes should be in the mix to win the division.

Of course, that all depends on quarterback play. And that brings us back to the addition of Heaps. Is this a move for depth? Or a reason to be concerned about Olsen or Kaaya?

Only time will tell.