Jake Heaps seeking transfer from BYU

BYU quarterback Jake Heaps has decided to transfer immediately in search of a fresh start, following a season in which he lost his starting job.

"Jake is a great young man with tremendous potential and someone I deeply care about," coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday in a statement. "I am sorry to see him leave this wonderful institution yet anxious to follow his future development and success."

Heaps came to BYU as a highly touted recruit, and enrolled in the spring 2010 semester to get a leg up on the quarterback competition. As a true freshman last season, Heaps and Riley Nelson shared quarterback duties until Nelson was lost for the year with a shoulder injury. Heaps endured his share of struggles, but closed the year with a terrific performance in the New Mexico Bowl, going 25-of-34 for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

BYU went into this season with Heaps firmly entrenched as the starter, and high hopes with Brandon Doman taking over as offensive coordinator. But Heaps struggled from the start, throwing three touchdown passes and five interceptions in his first five starts of the season. He had three turnovers in an embarrassing 54-10 loss to in-state rival Utah.

With the Cougars trailing Utah State in Week 5, Heaps was benched in favor of Nelson. The backup quarterback sparked a comeback win and replaced Heaps as the starter.

Heaps started two more games after Nelson got hurt, but it was clear that it was Nelson who would be the starting quarterback heading into 2012. Nelson, a junior, has one season remaining, while Heaps has two.

For his BYU career, Heaps completed 363 of 635 passes for 3,768 yards, 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Heaps has not announced where he will transfer. He will not participate in the bowl game or bowl practices and will concentrate on finishing out his schoolwork in the fall semester.

Junior quarterback James Lark will assume backup duties.

BYU plays Tulsa on Dec. 30 in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas.

Andrea Adelson is a college football writer for ESPN.com.