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From 3A to D1 to the NFL

January 10, 2018
By Sarah Otteson

From 3A to D1 to the NFL

Horizon Christian’s Wyatt Houston

In the 2016-2017 approximately 1.1 million USA High School athletes competed in varsity football. 2.6% (1 out of 603) will compete at a NCAA 1 / FBS - D1 school. That is over 15,000 athletes at the FBS - D1 level. When you combine all colleges that offer varsity football in the US, the total number of athletes is over 92,500. Only 2% of college football players are given the opportunity to play in the NFL.

In 2013, Horizon Christian High School’s all-star quarterback Wyatt Houston was 1 of 14 Oregon high school seniors, and the only 3A athlete in Oregon to receive a NCAA FBS-D1 football scholarship

Although he played QB at Horizon, Houston made an immediate impact as a Tight End at Utah State. Houston earned starting time in each of his four years at Utah State, including his senior season, when he started nine games and earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors. For his career, Houston played 46 games, starting 28 times, and caught 86 passes for 933 yards and nine touchdowns.

In the Spring of 2017, Houston fulfilled a dream he had as a 1st grader when he signed a free agent contract with the NFL Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately Houston was released over concerns his previous injuries would hinder his performance. A few weeks later the Carolina Panthers signed Houston but eventually released him for the same reasons.

The following is a Q&A with Wyatt Houston about his experiences as one of the top high school football players in Oregon during his time at Horizon Christian High School.

Q: Horizon Christian HS is the smallest (enrollment wise) 3A school in Oregon. How were you able to get the attention of some of the top colleges in the country?

WH: “I was able to draw attention from college coaches because I was a multi sport athlete with good grades. I had good size and athleticism, and I put myself out there in front of coaches any chance I was given. My coaches at Horizon we’re also instrumental in preparing me for college and also helping me during the recruiting process.”

Q: How did playing multiple sports help you?

WH: “Growing up I played football, basketball and baseball. Being a multi sport athlete is what makes great players in any sport in my opinion. If you only play one sport, then you are only using those tools that are required to play that sport. However if you play multiple sports, you are adding that much more to your toolbox for both sports. I regret not playing a third sport at Horizon Christian.”

Q: After your 9th grade year at a 6A public high school you transferred to Horizon Christian HS. What were some of the pro’s and cons of going from a large school to a smaller school like Horizon Christian?

WH: “One of the pros for me was that there were a lot less distractions while in school. After school I was still able to hangout with my friends from West Linn. Another pro was really getting to be coached. When I was at West Linn there were so many kids that I didn’t feel like I was learning as much in the classroom and on my sports teams. Some of the cons were that there was always a question of whether we would have enough kids for certain sports teams.

Q: What were some concerns you had about playing football at a smaller school like Horizon vs West Linn?

WH: “My only concern was if there would be enough competition. However there was plenty and I was really able to grow as an athlete. No matter where you play, there will always be games where the other team isn’t quite as good. During my time at Horizon, we were always competing with tough teams.”

Q: What would you say about those who think that the only way to be noticed by colleges or be offered a FBS - D1 scholarship is to attend the biggest or best high school in the area?

WH: “Not true at all. It doesn’t matter what school you play at. It matters what you do for your high school. You have to be a great teammate and leader for your high school before a college would think about giving out a scholarship to a kid. Once you are the best teammate and leader for your teams, then it’s about putting yourself in front of college coaches and having high school coaches who will endorse you.”

Q: What were some of your favorite memories about playing sports at Horizon Christian?

WH: “My favorite memories from sports at Horizon Christian are getting to play for great coaches like Coach Crace and Coach Brown. Having the opportunity to play with so many great teammates that I had in both football and basketball. I also enjoyed reaching the playoffs all three years in football and winning 2 state championships in basketball.”

Q: How did your experience at Horizon Christian HS prepare you for college?

WH: “It prepared me in so many ways, however the relationships that I built at horizon and always being able to count on those people to help me with whatever came my way throughout college was the most important. My relationship with Coach Crace is one that I will always cherish.”

Q: What are some of your career and personal plans for the future?

WH: “I am currently starting my new career in the medical field. I am an associate sales rep for American Medical Concepts. I am engaged to my beautiful fiancé and could not be more excited to marry her and start our future family together!”