Washington, Washington State, California and USC are among the schools he could transfer to.

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After two seasons at Brigham Young, former Skyline standout quarterback Jake Heaps is transferring.

The sophomore, who started the Cougars’ final 10 games as a freshman and the first five in 2011, was given his release by coach Bronco Mendenhall Monday. Heaps has yet to decide where he will continue his college football career.

Heaps, 6 feet 1, 200 pounds, will not speak to the media right away, but he explained his decision in an interview with former Washington quarterback Taylor Barton.

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“I really respect and like coach Mendenhall, he’s a great man,” Heaps said in the post at www.northwesteliteindex.com. “I’ve learned a lot about football from coach (Brandon) Doman. There are so many great guys on this team, it’s going to be really hard to leave them. I’ve had some time to think about this decision and it’s not one I came to lightly. I have no idea where I’m going to end up, and haven’t talked to anyone. There are a lot of great programs out there, and I’m excited to do some research and find the right fit.”

Potential destinations for Heaps include Washington, Washington State, California and USC.

“Jake has decided to leave the program in pursuit of a fresh start,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “Jake is a great young man with tremendous potential and someone I deeply care about. I am sorry to see him leave this wonderful institution, yet anxious to follow his future development and success.”

BYU will play Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30. Heaps decided to make his decision before the game both out of respect for the program and a need to select a new school so he can enroll in January.

“It wouldn’t have been fair to them if I was going through meetings, practices, and recruiting weekends knowing the whole time I wanted to and was going to transfer,” Heaps said. “I also can’t do something halfheartedly. If I’m somewhere, I want to be fully committed to it. Though I would have been there physically, I wouldn’t have fully been there mentally.”

After leading Skyline to three state championships and amassing a 40-2 record as a high-school quarterback, Heaps was rated by many as the top quarterback prospect in the nation. He graduated early so he could play spring football. In his first college football game, Heaps split time with Riley Nelson as BYU beat Washington, 23-17.

“It’s been very surreal,” Heaps said in an interview after last season. “It’s been exciting. There have been a lot of up-and-down moments throughout the season.”

Heaps took over as the starter in 2010 after Nelson suffered a shoulder injury. The Cougars won four of their last five regular-season games and the New Mexico Bowl. Heaps set BYU freshman records for passing yards (2,316), attempts (383), completions (219), passing touchdowns (15), wins (six), games started (10) and games played (13).

He opened his sophomore season as the starter, but struggled early. Heaps was pulled in the third quarter against Utah State on Sept. 30; Nelson came in and produced a come-from-behind victory. Nelson was named the starter after that. Heaps played in nine games this season, throwing for 1,452 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

“I knew that he was frustrated with the situation,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. “In my mentorship with him, I was just trying to make sure that he continued to compete and grow. He’s a very good kid and he’s very competitive.”

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or mkelley@seattletimes.com

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