Oakley Hussey is an artist. He’s adaptable.
He’s chatty, on and off the field, and confident. He's honest — all these layers and adjectives compiled into a young man from Denver with a 6-foot, 200 pound frame that gashed local District 6 schools en route to a 4A state championship with the Hillcrest Knights.
Oakley Hussey is also the area’s best football player.
“There's a lot more to me. I think when people think about a football player, they see this jock. 'Oh, you play football, you're as dumb as a rock.' Like, no, not really,” he said last week, sitting down for a 49-minute interview. "There's a little bit more to me. Like, I know some kids look at me like, 'Oh, what does he know, he's just a stupid football player,' but there's a lot more to me. I love comics. I love the art. ... I'm kind of an all-around guy, really, and you gotta get to know me before you can make a judgement."
Things are a little complicated with Hussey. He’s not your typical, “beat ‘em up”, headstrong-type player that the region tends to pride itself on.
He said he wants to be a doctor one day, though he bruises his body by playing one of America’s most rigorous and dangerous sports.
He loves the video game franchise, "Halo". He enjoys Marvel films. He loves to draw and was once teased at a young age for enjoying Spider-Man, though by the time August 25 rolled around no one was teasing or scoffing at Hussey’s athletic ability.
Even as he's physically matured, he still shows a "young-at-heart" mentality.
Again, he can adapt and change — on and off the field.
At times, he was the Knights’ main running back this past fall. At times, he was the Knights’ main wide receiver. At times, he can be soft spoken. At times, he can be verbose.
At times, he was a member of run-first system that tore through Idaho’s 4A classification. At times, he was the system, running around and through opponents as the main cog in Hillcrest’s offense.
“He’s definitely dynamic player,” Rigby coach Armando Gonzalez added. “They did an excellent job moving him. Every time he touched the ball, it seemed like he could go the distance.”
Multiple times last fall, after hitting the second level — partially due to a bruising offensive line that opened holes and in part to an offensive scheme that first-year coach Kevin Meyer tinkered with after one of Hillcrest’s best players went down — Hussey would run out of bounds.
All of this is O.K. People — no matter the age — can be complex, multi-layered.
Hussey, like most people, can be different things at different times — but he’ll always be the Post Register’s 2018 All-Area football Player of the Year.
“There's more to life than football. I know that," Hussey said. "I love (art, gaming, movies). I love to talk to people, too. I'm just a chit-chatter. ... I always have a teacher, once a day, that's like that, 'Oakley,' and I turn around, and they're like, 'Shh. Just be a little bit more quiet, someone is taking a test.' and I'm like, 'O.K., O.K.' and then two minutes lapses around and I'm (chatting again)."
From an LDS background, Hussey is contemplating a mission as well as a variety of Intermountain West Division I schools wanting him to play football. Last Friday, he tweeted out that the University of Utah offered him a spot on the Utes. He’s also taken a trip to Boise State.
Regardless of where Hussey ends up, though, no one can take away his senior season with the Knights. He’s received multiple accolades from around the state (first team All-Idaho, High Country Conference Player of the Year).
He finished his senior season with 1,456 yards and 15 touchdowns on 163 carries. 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns came in eight games. He had 33 receptions for 379 yards and seven touchdowns when lined up outside of the tackles.
Most importantly, he helped Hillcrest win its first state title in a decade.
“I knew he was a good athlete, but when we watched film on him, he scared me receiving wise,” Skyline coach Scott Berger said of Hussey. “He did a great job as a running back. He stepped right in and he ran tough and that was impressive.”
As a receiver, Hussey was difficult to guard — catching deep lobs against man-to-man coverage multiple times (against Rigby and Bishop Kelly). As a running back, Hussey was difficult to take down at the second level thanks to solid base and ability to cut on a dime.
Even with injuries to key players, like Jordan Neurburg and Brady Sainz, and a new offense halfway through the season, Hussey was a constant for the Knights.
He was put in different situations on different circumstances, but he was always involved.
“I planned on being a wide receiver this season, that was kind of my plan,” Hussey said. “More of a speedster, more of a quick kid. Then with the transition, with (Jordan Neuerburg) going down, I had to kind of become more rough, not so finesse. Be more of a powerhouse, I guess, and that just worked out just great. … I played running back back in grid kid. I had no problem with it. Coach Meyer just said, ‘you’re playing running back now’ and I was like, ‘Alright. Cool. Whatever we gotta do to win a state championship.’”
Chatty, confident, complex, reliable, artistic, a running back, a receiver. Hussey was many things all at once this previous fall.
And it might not be the last time you see him be all those things on, and off, the football field.
“Like coach Meyer always says, and it’s something we always lean back on, it’s that if we take care of us we can expect great things,” Hussey said. “We’ll be happy with the outcome. I remember saying … if we all stick together then we can make something good happen. I knew we could do it if we just put the work in, everyone was consistent and we all stayed together and we did what we’re supposed to.
"If you want something, and decide to go get it, you can get it," Hussey added.