The true freshman at BYU was in the fifth grade when, with his family, he began making three-hour trips from his hometown of Sammamish, Wash., to work out with renowned quarterbacks coach Greg Barton, who runs a football academy in Beaverton, Ore.
Barton still remembers his first meeting with Heaps.
"His eyeballs were dilated. He was into it," says Barton, who has tutored Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Jason White and three current NFL starters (Palmer, Aaron Rodgers and Kyle Orton). "Everything Jake and I talked about, he just ate it up.
"Quarterbacks need to take everything in, like a sponge. They have to have that gym rat mentality. They have to have that to be a really great quarterback. Jake had all that. And he was having the time of his life. The guy's really got a passion for being a quarterback."
Heaps attended Barton's academy about 25 weekends a year to learn the quarterback craft. That time and hard work paid off, as he led Skyline High School in Sammamish to three consecutive state titles and finished with a 40-2 record as a starter.