The outside world might see the NFL as a legitimate long-term goal for rising Idaho prep standout Colson Yankoff.
Right now, the teenager sees a book inside his home as a noble bar to eclipse.
It contains the highs and lows of longstanding Brown University football. One of the chapters involves his father, Trevor, who was an accomplished Ivy League quarterback.
“I’ve looked at it as many times as he’s pulled it out,” Yankoff said with a laugh. “He likes to pull out the old highlight tapes, too.”
Yankoff is set up to reach much higher goals as one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects in the 2018 class.
And there isn’t much not to like about the 6-foot-4, 200-pound dual threat from Coeur d’Alene High School.
Yankoff has a big arm. He has a quick release. He has deft pocket presence. And when a play breaks down, he has the uncanny ability to make something out of nothing.
He has smarts (4.3 cumulative grade-point average in AP classes). He has speed (4.69-second 40-yard dash time). And he has athleticism (39-inch vertical jump).
“He has no black marks — no weaknesses,” said Shawn Amos, the longtime coach at Coeur d’Alene High School. “He can throw the ball with anybody. He’s a great leader. He’s humble. He’s the complete package — one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the country.”
Before you chalk Amos’ comments up as hometown bias, consider that when the coach says Yankoff can be the best to ever come out of Idaho, that includes being better than Yankoff’s own son, Gunnar, who is the backup for the Idaho Vandals.
And if you want a credible outside opinion, look no further than the coach of the reigning Class 4A state champions in the state of Washington.
Jon Eagle took his Camas High School squad on the road for a nonleague game at Coeur d’Alene last September.
Going into the game, Eagle had not heard of Yankoff, who shared the quarterback position in 2015 with returning senior Austin Lee.
“Jim Sharkey at Ferris told me, ‘You have to play against that Yankoff kid,’ ” Eagle said. “I had never heard of him. I said, ‘Great, I scheduled a game against them not knowing they had (a blue chip quarterback).’ ”
Eagle’s squad prevailed, 49-30, as part of its undefeated season. But Yankoff was sensational, passing for 485 yards and three touchdowns and adding 73 rushing yards.
After the season, Eagle said not only was Yankoff the best quarterback the Papermakers faced all season, he was one of the best signal callers Eagle had seen in a long time.
“For me, it was his pocket presence,” Eagle said. “He is as good as I’ve seen just feeling pressure and keeping his eyes downfield.
“Every defense is going to have an open gap. He sees where it is.”
Yankoff finished the season with 3,129 passing yards and 27 touchdowns in 10 games, and he had 968 rushing yards and another 26 scores. He was named the Gatorade player of the year in Idaho.
And two weeks after former University of Oregon coach Mark Helfrich was fired in November, Yankoff decommitted from the Ducks. He has been swarmed by recruiters ever since, receiving scholarship offers from Nebraska, Tennessee, Baylor, TCU and North Carolina. He has 12 FBS offers total.
Brandon Huffman, the national recruiting director with Scout.com, thinks Yankoff will continue to be a fast-rising prospect in the coming months and could push Bothell’s Jacob Sirmon as the top quarterback to come out of the Northwest by this time next year.
“He is one of those guys you have to watch play in a game because he’s a dual threat,” Huffman said. “He’s very good.”
Yankoff knows the door of opportunity is open wide. And he said he’ll take his time what school is best for him.
“This has been an awesome experience. And playing basketball (this winter) has been good for me to focus on something else,” Yankoff said. “I am going to let the football thing play itself out … and not let it try and get to me too much.”
Nuggets-in-waiting: Class of 2018
CHASE COTA, South Medford (Oregon), wide receiver, 6-4, 195.
DEVIN CULP, Gonzaga Prep, wide receiver, 6-4, 215.
KYLER GORDON, Archbishop Murphy, defensive back, 6-0, 185.
TRE’SHAUN HARRISON, Garfield, athlete, 6-2, 190.
TALANOA HUFANGA, Crescent Valley (Oregon), athlete, 6-1, 195.
DAWSON JARAMILLO, Lake Oswego (Oregon), offensive lineman, 6-5, 285.
BRADEN LENZY, Tigard (Oregon), 6-0, 165.
TREY LOWE, Jesuit (Oregon), 5-9, 180.
JACOB SIRMON, Bothell, quarterback, 6-4, 220.
TOMMY TOGIAI, Highland (Idaho), defensive lineman, 6-4, 305.
BEN WILSON, Sumner, linebacker, 6-2, 215.
ELI’JAH WINSTON, Central Catholic (Oregon), 6-3, 220.
COLSON YANKOFF, Coeur d’Alene (Idaho), quarterback, 6-4, 205.