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!”
Each fall our Junior High and High School students go on a retreat at the beginning of the school year. The 7th and 8th grade retreat is hosted at Twin Rocks Camp and the high school retreat is hosted at Canby Grove Conference Center. God always moves in a significant way as we spend time together and gather under His word.
“Our retreat began with Mrs. Peterson speaking on 'The Lies of the Enemy vs. Who We Truly are in God’s Eyes.”' What we thought would be a 45 minute session went well past 2.5 hours!
Students spent those two hours revealing lies that they believed about themselves and then others spoke positive truth and heaped love on each person to replace the crazy lies we choose to believe. We took turns praying over one another. The night was so powerful! We were able to walk away free of so many things we had believed about ourselves before the night. They set them down and chose truth!
I have heard these comments from the students, “I feel like I am so much closer to all my friends now that we have opened up and shared such deep things” and “I want to have retreat every week so we don’t lose the bond that we created!”
Retreat was everything and more than we had planned. God showed up in every moment.”
“The students and staff at Horizon enjoyed the opportunity to dig deeper into our Core Value of People. Relationships are at the core of all we do at Horizon and the retreat was no different. The Student Body officers led various activities that brought students of various grades, genders, and friends groups together with one another in ways that made for new friendships to flourish. From the insanity of the team board game challenge to the prizes awarded for the small group Jenga battles, the retreat was full of laughter and entertainment.
Our retreat also serves as an opportunity for us to dig deeper into our faith. Through two amazing chapels, students heard from the mouths of the teachers they love how impactful a positive relationship can be in their lives. The second Chapel was students pouring out stories of how much relationships have changed their lives and how Horizon was at the heart of all of it.”
At Horizon Christian School the blend of academic rigor and excellence, competitive athletics, and growing excellence in our arts programs make for a place Where Everybody Is Somebody and Jesus Is All. In this commitment to the pursuit of excellence that glorifies God and highlights the talents and abilities of our amazing students, teachers and administration Horizon again receives top honors in our conference and in the state of Oregon. The Oregon State Athletic Association has just released the Academic All-State Awards for arts and athletics for the Spring, recognizing the average GPA of each in their respective arts and athletic programs. We could not be more proud of our students. Take a look at these amazing rankings!
Academic All-State Awards
Baseball: 1st Place All Levels (1A-6A) - 3.67 GPA
Boys Track & Field: 1st Place 3A (5th in State All Levels) - 3.60
Girls Track & Field: 5th Place 3A - 3.57
Choir: 1st Place 3A - 3.63
Our Horizon Christian Hawks are truly soaring at all levels and we celebrate their hard work.
photo credit: Lynn Olson & Scott Olson
Horizon has been a place of so many new and amazing opportunities for me.
I started my freshman year knowing absolutely nobody and I was welcomed into the community with open arms. Not knowing anyone scared me and I was very quiet starting freshman year, but I was able to become more confident in who I am in Christ and do things today I never thought were possible.
All of the students, teachers, and staff show a genuine care and interest in the well being of one another, and feeling that as a new student pushed me to become who I am now.
I am so glad I made the choice to go to Horizon and I know my life would be drastically different if I hadn't.
Hawk Heritage Interview with Micah Clements
Favorite Food: Chow Mein
Favorite Hobby: Youtubing/Editing Videos
Role Model: Bill Gates
HH: How have you seen yourself grow this year?
MC: “I've seen myself grow this year socially and academically. The part that has been the most fun about being at Horizon Christian is that I can connect with a lot of people including my teachers.
HH: What's been the most fun about being at Horizon?
MC: “The friends I’ve made at Horizon are amazing. I feel like they always have my back. I love how no one is ever left out, and everyone is always included. Once I got the feel for a smaller school and saw the personal connection difference between private and public, I actually realized that I can make a big difference that is impacting.”
HH: Why did you want to be ASB President?
MC: “I wanted to be ASB president because I saw things, from an outsider's perspective that could make Horizon better. Seeing how they have been improved now, and watching the school blossom is amazing. At first I thought becoming president would make me the bad guy. But to be honest I was still in the public school mindset. Here, I haven't been neglected, I have been accepted!”
HH: What do you love most about middle school?
MC: “Middle school is a fun couple years. I love being the big kid at school (8th grade) and watching as others grow. Being here with friends and having so much fun together is very exciting.”
HH: What is the best part about an ordinary day at Horizon Christian?
MC: "The best part at this middle school is that we get to learn about God and dive deeper into His practices with Bible class. Not having to worry about talking about your relationship with Christ is amazing. I love our great middle school teachers. It is usually easy to find just one teacher that is your favorite, but to be honest, it is so hard and there is like a 6 way tie!”