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Ex-Notre Dame QB Crist transferring to Kansas

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2009 file photo, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis gives instructions as he puts in backup quarterback Dayne Crist against Washington State in the second half of an NCAA college football game in San Antonio, Texas. Crist has decided to transfer to Kansas, where the former Notre Dame quarterback will be reunited with coach Weis. FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2009 file photo, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis gives instructions as he puts in backup quarterback Dayne Crist against Washington State in the second half of an NCAA college football game in San Antonio, Texas. Crist has decided to transfer to Kansas, where the former Notre Dame quarterback will be reunited with coach Weis. (AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani, File)
By Dave Skretta
AP Sports Writer / December 22, 2011
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KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Kansas coach Charlie Weis landed a pair of high-profile quarterbacks Thursday.

Former top recruit Dayne Crist announced on Twitter that he would join the Jayhawks for his senior season after a checkered career at Notre Dame, shortly before news broke that BYU quarterback Jake Heaps was also transferring to Kansas.

Crist will reunite with Weis, who recruited him to Notre Dame, and be eligible to play next season because he's already graduated from Notre Dame. Heaps will have to sit out under NCAA transfer rules but will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Officials at Kansas could not comment on the quarterbacks until they enroll.

Crist visited Kansas and Wisconsin before making his decision, which came the same day Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was hired as the head coach at Pittsburgh.

One of the country's top recruits out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Crist enrolled in South Bend in 2008 as part of a blockbuster recruiting class.

Things didn't pan out as anybody expected, though.

Weis struggled to win games despite suiting up numerous top prospects at Notre Dame, and was fired after the 2009 season. Crist had a season-ending knee injury his freshman year and another last year, after he completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions under Weis' replacement, Brian Kelly.

He came back from the injury to regain the starting job this season, but was benched at halftime of the opener against South Florida. Crist played only a handful of snaps behind Tommy Rees the rest of the way, ultimately announcing that he had decided to transfer.

"After a long & difficult decision making process, I'm incredibly excited to join the Kansas football team. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!" Crist wrote on Twitter.

He'll compete for the starting job at Kansas right away.

Sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb struggled with consistency last season, completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,884 yards with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during a 2-10 season.

Webb was benched a few times in favor of senior Quinn Mecham, who fared little better.

Although he will only have one season of eligibility, Crist represents a major coup for Weis, who needs a strong-armed quarterback to effectively run his pro-style offense. Crist was the No. 2-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation out of high school, according to Rivals.com, behind only Blaine Gabbert, who is now the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Heaps was just as highly touted as Crist coming out of Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline High School. He was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2010.

Heaps graduated early so that he could enroll at BYU, and started the final 10 games his first season, setting freshman school records for yards passing (2,316), attempts (383), completions (219), touchdown passes (15). The Cougars finished 7-6 and beat UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.

He struggled early this season, though, and lost the starting job to Riley Nelson. Heaps asked BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall to be released from his scholarship earlier this month.

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