Thursday was quite a peculiar day for West Coast quarterbacks.
The quarterbacks that were each #1 in the West by Scout.com 2008, 2009 and 2010 were all in the news.
Dayne Crist was the top quarterback out West in 2008, Matt Barkley was the top passer nationally in 2009 and Jake Heaps was ranked as the nation's best as well in 2010.
So it was quite interesting to have all three make major college decisions, really, within hours of each other.
While Barkley has flourished and lived up to the expectations set for him, Crist and Heaps have had up-and-down careers.
With Barkley back at USC next year, he enters the season as one of the front-runners for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
On the other hand, Crist and Heaps head to Kansas and Charlie Weis, looking for a revival to their careers.
Crist: When you saw Crist in high school, he was as close to a sure thing as one gets. Big, mobile, athletic, cannon for an arm. There were some questions with why he'd go to Notre Dame, a year after Jimmy Clausen, but it did make sense, since it was no surprise that Clausen would be the starter in 2007, when Crist was still in high school, Crist would redshirt in 2008 and then be the backup in 2009, giving him the starting job from 2010-2012.
Obviously, a myriad of things happened- Weis getting fired, Kelly coming in, Crist's injuries, lack of confidence from Kelly, etc.
But Crist is still a pretty talented quarterback and if you know him, he's going to have a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon to prove he's still capable of being the man.
The microscope will be much less in Lawrence than it was in South Bend and that's probably good for him. He'll also have a coach who's confident in him, and vice versa, and not really having to look over his shoulder every snap.
He's in a money, prove-it year, to try and get to the NFL. And Kansas is picking up an absolutely stellar kid and representative for the school.
Heaps: While we wouldn't have called Heaps a "sure thing" like we did Crist, he had all the intangibles that may have offset some of the physical questions (i.e., Heaps wasn't particularly big or mobile).
But the kid was a gamer. The first time we saw him play was his sophomore year, when Skyline took on the top-ranked team in Washington and Jake just picked them apart. A couple weeks later, in the state championship game, he rallied Skyline from a 21-point deficit with a comeback for the ages to win the first of his three state-titles. He was just a sophomore, but showed that cool, calm demeanor you want in a quarterback.
We saw the only two games that Jake would lose in his entire career, and each time, he'd come back the next game with a vengeance. In the final game of his prep career, the opponents did lot of trash talking that week in the papers. Meanwhile, Jake just kept his mouth shut. He then went out and put on a clinic and won the third straight state title.
What happened at BYU has happened, but much like with Crist and Notre Dame, Heaps was put under a huge microscope, and generally became a victim of his own expectations. So much was expected of him and while he struggled at the start of his freshman year, he ended the year well. This year, it was supposed to be that jump year, and it didn't pan out.
So, like Crist, a fresh start was probably good for him, and now he'll get to learn Weis' system, and wait until 2013 to have to start again, with a lot less pressure, but with something to prove.
All this to say, Kansas fans should be thrilled to have two quarterbacks who have a lot of talent, have played at a high level and now have something to prove.