RECRUITING '08: Cougs looking at Idaho gem

BYRON HOUT

THE STATE OF IDAHO isn't known as a recruiting hotbed but 10 players signed with D-IA schools this past Signing Day, including future Cougar Marshal Pirtz. This year, a Gem State prospect looks to become one of the most decorated footballers in Idaho history. Washington State this past week received film on the player who during his junior campaign was named the state's 5A Player of the Year.

The recruiting spotlight shone brightly this past year upon Coeur d'Alene seniors Brandon Hanna and Carson York -- both of whom signed with the Ducks this month out of Lake City High -- but it was junior teammate Byron Hout who was Lake City's MVP.

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

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • As a junior in '06, Hout was named State of Idaho 5A Player of the Year, First Team All State Defense and Offense, All League MVP, First Team All League Defense and Offense, the Lake City MVP and Defensive Lineman of the Year.

  • His sophomore season, Hout logged 85 tackles with five forced fumbles and four blocked punts, earning mention in USA TODAY as "among the best the nation has to offer on the gridiron" heading into the '06 season.

  • The state of Idaho produced four Pac-10 signees a few weeks back on LOI Day and 10 overall, including linebacker Marshal Pirtz of Boise who signed with the Cougars. The rest of the list:
    Oregon - Mark Asper, Brandon Hanna, Carson York
    Colorado - Matt Ballenger
    Boise State - Matt Kaiserman, Jarrell Root, Mitch Burroughs, Shea McClellin
    Idaho State - Darryl Simons

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