As in most states, underclassmen aren't often named state Player of the Year in Idaho -- particularly when the prepster lines up at offensive tackle and defensive end. But Hout isn't your normal football player, according to his prep coach.
His future at the next level is on defense and Hout (6-1, 225, 4.6) made life miserable for opponents last year, racking up 83 tackles with 12 sacks and 16 for loss. And as highly ranked as Hanna and York were -- Hanna was rated the No. 15 MLB in the nation by Scout.com while York was the No. 8 OT -- Hout has been praised by his coach as being on another level.
"He is definitely the best football player in the state," coach Van Troxel told The Idaho Statesman after Lake City earned a 12-0 record and the 5A state championship. "Byron is the most dominant player that I have ever coached...No one player has a bigger impact on the game the (way) Byron does."
Hout certainly made an impact during the semi-final and championship game, scoring a defensive touchdown in each. But while Hout tore it up coming off the edge at defensive end last year, he will this season move to the position he's more likely to play in college -- middle linebacker. Hout recently sent Cougar coach George Yarno tape of his junior year.
IN ADDITION TO Washington State, schools in the mix at this early stage include Boise State, Oregon, USC, Fresno State, Arizona State and Montana. Hout said of the coaches he's talked to, they've mentioned his instincts, how hard he plays the game and his 'natural ability' out on the field as among his attributes.
Hout comes across in an interview as decidedly down to earth, taking pains not to speak as highly of his own potential as does Troxel.
"If I went to a big D-IA college, I might have to sit two or three years out working my way up to play but if I were to go to a smaller school, I might play my second year or something like that," he said. "I kind of want to stay on the West Coast a little bit...Right now, I'm doing a speed program. And then I'm going to do track in the spring -- shot, discus and I think I'm going to run sprints as well."
HOUT SAID he plans this spring on visiting a couple schools down in California and will stop by Oregon in the early part of April, while his summer camp plans have yet to be decided. Hout is an outstanding student and in fine shape academically, carrying a 3.45 GPA.
Byron Hout profile
Oregon - Mark Asper, Brandon Hanna, Carson York
Colorado - Matt Ballenger
Boise State - Matt Kaiserman, Jarrell Root, Mitch Burroughs, Shea McClellin
Idaho State - Darryl Simons