Houk Has Become More Than a Player

Terenn Houk came to Provo as a non-LDS, walk-on student-athlete who didn't know much about BYU prior to enrolling. Throughout spring camp, Houk has become one of the more notable performers, gaining compliments from coaches and the trust of teammates. But his time at BYU hasn't only molded him into a better football player; he's grown to become a man as well.

During spring camp Terenn Houk has improved to the point of being recognized by both teammates, such as Taysom Hill, and coaches alike. Houk's efforts have allowed him to turn in an outstanding spring camp performance thus far.

"I'm doing well over spring camp, and I just have to be humble about it and not become complacent," Houk said. "I have to take success with a grain of salt and take whatever I can and try and become a better player. It's awesome that my teammates are feeling that confidence and trust in me. It's great feeling that satisfaction. At the same time, it fuels that drive to get better and want to make plays on Saturday."

An effort to make plays for his team on Saturdays has been a trek of endurance for Houk. And when one considers the standards and high moral expectations demanded of LDS and non-LDS students like Houk attending BYU, that endeavor become even more honorable. For Houk, his experiences at BYU have turned his overall experience at BYU into nothing short of a remarkable one, regardless of the difficulties the trek has placed before him along the way.

"I love it!" Houk said of his time at BYU. "It's just been a great experience for me to be here. I love the atmosphere, I love the team, and I love the school! It's just a great place to be."

It would seem to be a lot easier for non-LDS athlete such as Cody Hoffman, who played in an overabundance of games and set pretty much every BYU receiving record on the books, to give such a glowing report. However, Houk hasn't had that type of experience or career at BYU. He came as a walk-on in an effort to earn a scholarship, while being asked to live the unique standards of BYU, while enduring the demands and pressures of being a student-athlete. For Houk, his compliments of BYU are truly genuine.

"Coming here to BYU it molds you because you're asked to be more than just a football player," Houk said. "There's the honor code and you're surrounded by these awesome coaches with their standards and example. At a school with a standard it really makes you live up to that certain standard. It gives you a roadmap to grow and mature."

However, the trials Houk's endured as a football player haven't been brushed to the wayside; the influences have been fully recognized. The lessons of being a developing athlete over the past few years have also had their place of influence in Houk's character growth as well.

"Oh, it's definitely made me grow up and be a man," Houk said. "When you come out of high school you think you're going to rule the world. You learn really quickly that you have to work and earn everything. You learn nothing is given and it really molds you."

Houk's words sound very familiar. In fact the perspectives gained sound very much like the influence of one Bronco Mendenhall and the unentitled principles of his program. From the time Houk entered BYU as a freshman to now his junior year, the maturation and personal refinement he's gained is easily recognized. He even admits his mother back in his home state of Washington is even proud of who he's become.

"Yes she is very proud of me," Houk said with a grin as wide as the Wasatch Front. "They're happy knowing that I'm making it out here and that I'm happy. They're happy that I'm doing well with football and in school."

Yet there is an ulterior motive behind Houk's personal reason to succeed, and that reason lies beyond his love for the sport of football. He found something good at BYU and grabbed ahold of it. Now, his motivation is to pass along that influence on to his younger brother back home who is watching Terenn with a keen eye.

"I'm just trying to set an example for my little brother back home," Houk said. "I'm trying to be that example to him so he has something to follow. I want to be that good big brother."

Could there be more members of the Houk family possibly on the BYU horizon in the near future?

"Hopefully and we'll see," Houk said with a smile. "I hope he would if he has that opportunity."

Houk admitted that he is a proponent of BYU when it comes to promoting the values in an effort to influence his younger brother. He hopes his younger brother will one day have a chance to follow in his footsteps to BYU.

"Yes, I am a proponent of that," Houk said with a smile. "BYU runs in the family, and we're hard workers."

The mantra of being a hard worker and making a great effort also sounds strangely familiar in Coach Mendenhall's program. It is evident that Houk has fully embraced the culture of BYU, and now that he's had a year under the mentorship of Wide Receivers Coach Guy Holliday, it's evident where the reinforcement of that culture has come from.

"Coach Holliday is like a father figure to me out there, not only as a coach but he really is a good example of what to be like," Houk said. "It's nice to that non-LDS coach out there sometimes kind of relate to you. A lot of times I know coaches try to connect but he just brings something entirely new to the table. At the same time he's going to get on you. You know, he's not going to just baby you, but that's what I love about him. He's up front and blunt and will be honest with you, but at the same time he loves you and cares about you."

"You have to search high, and far, and find that special fit (non-LDS athletes for BYU) and then we have to be supportive. We have to be supportive as a staff," said Guy Holliday. "I have to be held accountable as a coach, as a non-LDS person, that they can relate to if they are non-LDS and be able to help guide and mentor them. That's what it's all about."

Coach Holliday is right. That is what it's all about and why many who are willing to embrace a greater standard gravitate towards the learning halls, character refining environment, and outstanding football program found within the confines of BYU. If any doubts arise, all one needs to do is simply ask Terenn Houk to fully understand.

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