PROVO, Utah – The battle for the starting quarterback job at BYU has ended in a tie.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Riley Nelson and freshman Jake Heaps will be sharing the job when the season begins next week.
"Each is a talented player with a different style, which will pose some difficulties for opposing defenses," Mendenhall said in a release Friday.
Nelson, a junior who backed up Max Hall in seven games last season, will likely take BYU's first series in the Cougars' opener against Washington on Sept. 4 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Heaps will also play in what Mendenhall described as a system, not a continued tryout.
Nelson gives the Cougars a running threat they didn't really have in Hall the last three years. As a freshman at Utah State in 2006, Nelson started eight games and completed 55 percent of his passes for 925 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 290 yards with the Aggies.
Heaps, a high school star in suburban Seattle and one of the top-rated quarterback recruits nationally, is more of a passer that Cougar fans hope can live up to some of his predecessors at BYU. He passed for 3,191 yards and 45 touchdowns last fall as a senior at Skyline High School, then enrolled early at BYU so he could take part in spring practice.
Heaps played well enough in the spring and during fall camp to at least share the job with the more experienced Nelson.
"Riley is a great player and I'm excited to have the opportunity to contribute," Heaps said. "This isn't about me or him. It's about us. It's about doing what we can to help our team."