It wasn’t long ago that the Hillcrest football team celebrated a 4A state championship.
Wednesday the team and the school held another celebration as four Knights signed national letters of intent to play for four-year colleges.
“It’s been a real good year and it starts with our seniors,” coach Kevin Meyer said after the ceremony that filled part of the school’s library with friends, teammates and family members. “This group of young men is just awesome to work with and I’m proud of them.”
Running back Oakley Hussey, the 2018 Post Register All-Area Football Player of the Year after rushing for 1,367 yards,13 touchdowns, and also catching seven scores, signed with Utah State.
Trae Henry, who rushed for 10 touchdowns last season, signed with Rocky Mountain College. Lineman Ed Carle and running back Jordan Neuerburg both signed with Idaho State.
“This is a big deal for all of us,” said Hussey, who said he also had interest from Utah, Boise State, BYU, Idaho State, Weber State, and some other programs. “We’ve all worked hard.”
Hussey, whose dad played college football, was in fifth grade when he started envisioning himself playing in college.
“I want to play college football and to play in the NFL,” he said. “That’s a dream I’ve always wanted and today it’s coming true.”
Neuerburg’s dream of playing in college nearly took a bad turn when he injured his knee last season and missed the second half of the season. Rehab is ongoing he said, but ISU kept in touch.
“It’s going great,” he said of his recovery. “I’m ahead of schedule. I’ll keep working and I want to get back to better than I was.”
I.F. teammates sign with Rocky Mountain College
Max Edminsten and Kalvin Bowen have played football together for much of their lives.
On Wednesday, they furthered their careers together.
Before coaches, teammates, classmates and family members in the Idaho Falls High School library, Edminsten and Bowen signed their national letters of intent to play football for Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont. Edminsten was recruited as an offensive lineman while Bowen was recruited as a cornerback.
Upon returning from his recruiting visit two weeks ago, Bowen learned Rocky Mountain was also interested in Edminsten. The classmates said it was nice that it worked out that they are going to the same place.
“I’ve known Max since kindergarten,” Bowen said. “Now we get to play together some more.”
“Kalvin’s been one of my best friends for a while,” Edminsten said. “I didn’t want to go to a school where I didn’t know anyone. I already know two people that are going up there.”
Bowen is one of those two people, and Hillcrest’s Trae Henry is the other. Bowen also knows current Rocky Mountain football player and 2018 Shelley graduate Mason Price, who he saw during his visit.
Edminsten and Bowen were both recruited by other schools, but said Rocky Mountain expressed the most interest and made more efforts in the recruiting process. Bowen said his athletic scholarships will cover $8,000 per year of his expenses while Edminsten said he estimates that athletic scholarships will cover half of his expenses.
Bowen added that he had to decide which sport to pursue in college--football or basketball--and that several colleges including Montana Tech recruited him for basketball.
“I’d always thought if I did play in college, I’d go for basketball,” Bowen said. “Everyone was shocked when I said I was signing for football.”
Edminsten and Bowen said they have aspired for many years to play in college, and Wednesday fulfilled those aspirations.
“That’s always been what I’ve wanted to do,” Edminsten said. “Eastern Idaho has a lot of great athletes that I don’t think people notice. I’ve worked pretty hard to get here.”
“That’s the reason for everything,” Bowen said. “It helps with the cost of attending college.”
Skyline’s Owen second in his family to sign with C of I
Cole Owen has grown familiar with College of Idaho football the last three years thanks to watching older brother, 2016 Skyline graduate Chase Owen, play for the Yotes.
The younger Owen will be headed to Caldwell also upon signing his letter of intent Wednesday at Skyline. He was recruited as an offensive lineman.
“Seeing him in that program and also just spending a lot of time over there in that program and seeing the values they have, a lot of other programs don’t have that," Owen said.
Owen said 80 to 90 percent of his expenses will be covered by C of I, which is a private NAIA school. He took three years off from football before playing again in 2016, when Skyline won its first of back-to-back 4A state football titles. Returning to the sport and seeing his brother enjoy the college football experience made him want to pursue college football as well.
He said College of Idaho has high expectations for the 2019 recruiting class, and Skyline prepared him well.
“After having that big 2016 season with the state championship, it upped a lot of expectations from coaches and players,” Owens said. “It made us players push ourselves harder to try to maintain the standard that we set for ourselves.”
Blackfoot’s Galvin to sign next week
Kenzie Galvin will be signing her letter of intent with Treasure Valley Community College women’s soccer on Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. at Blackfoot High School. It was originally scheduled for today, but was postponed due to Blackfoot School District cancelling school today and tomorrow.