Pound for pound, no other Highlander accomplished more on the gridiron — and in more different ways — than Kyle Clouthier.
The recently graduated senior was, in the words of his Incline football coach, “Mr. Versatility.”
“Kyle is the one who did the most for us,” said Incline head coach Mike Evans. “He was our running back, receiver, defensive back, he played linebacker, punt returner, kick returner ...”
That all-around ability did not go unnoticed by Williamette University head football coach Glen Fowles.
“He had to do a lot of everything for his (Incline) team, and sometimes at a smaller school like that, you have to ask your better players to do a lot. We noticed that,” Fowles said. “We like versatile kids, especially ones who are really smart. He can play a lot of different positions and he's a good kid from a good family, so we lucked out in that way.”
More impressive yet, Fowles said, is the fact that Clouthier is just as well rounded in the classroom. It's a major reason Williamette University, an academically rigorous Division III college in Salem, Ore., awarded him an academic scholarship.
“The first thing we really like about him is his academics. He's a brilliant kid, and that goes a long way,” said Fowles, who's entering his first year as head coach. “Education is important to us.”
Fowles said he envisions Clouthier, who's listed at 5-9 and 155 pounds, playing slot receiver for the Bearcats. He said Clouthier will have the opportunity to earn playing time as a freshmen, although there are some more experienced upperclassmen on the roster ahead of him.
“We expect him to come in and be a slot type of guy, kind of a tailback-receiver — a lot of what he did at Incline. We're basically looking for a guy who can catch the ball and run with it,” Fowles said. “At that position there are a couple of seniors there. It's an awesome situation to come into. He has some seniors that he can learn a ton from, and then as they graduate, it opens the door.
“So our expectation for Kyle is to come in and compete like crazy, absorb as much as he can and learn from the seniors that are in front of him.”
At Incline, Clouthier served as co-captain his senior year, when he received All-League second team honors at both running back and defensive back. Had carried the ball 65 times for 267 yards, had a team-high 35 catches and 332 yards receiving, and scored three touchdowns.
He looked at several schools in his college scouting process, all in the Pacific Northwest, and decided on Williamette after meeting the coaching staff and enjoying his campus visit. He said he looks forward to joining the Bearcats later this summer.
“I'm really excited, because I always dreamed of being a college athlete and playing college football, so it's kind of a dream come true to be able to get the opportunity,” Clouthier said. “And I'm just really excited to keep playing another four years after high school.”
While excited, Clouthier said he'll miss the close relationships he developed with Incline football teammates.
“I'm sure I'll get it in college, too, but I played with so many good friends, all the seniors this year. We're really close and always hang out, and I'll miss that camaraderie a lot,” he said. “I'll also miss playing under the lights. Friday night lights of high school football was always fun, so I'll miss that too.”