"It's incredible, everyone on my team and [those that] I go against is committed to schools like Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame and everywhere," said Zac Stout. "They're definitely the best I've gone against and it's been a great experience."
Stout's week includes two practice sessions daily of about an hour and a half each. Most of the practices are non-padded, but he's receiving some of the best instruction in the nation. Stout's specific position coach is Mike Stock, who spent many years coaching in the NFL before retiring.
"I've been able to learn some new things that will help me, but it's not like I didn't have great coaching in high school," he commented. "Clay Mathews was my position coach in high school and I think he's as good as any coach you can have, so yeah, it's been great learning from other great coaches, although I do feel that I was very well coached coming in."
Stout will man the middle for the West squad, playing middle linebacker in their base 4-3 defense. During practices and certainly during the coming game, he'll encounter top Division I talent that he hopes will help give him a taste for the next level.
"That's the great thing about being here, is that I think I'm really getting a taste of what college will be like," he observed. "The talent is Division I football talent and you can tell. It's very fast and like I said, it's the best talent I've ever played with or gone against."
So how has he stood up to that talent?
"I've held my own I think," he responded. "I can definitely play with these guys, no question about that. I feel confident out there and like I belong to be with the best and on this team. It's a great honor and it's important for me to live up to this honor through my play and showing that I belong, and I think that I've done that."
Stout does have some good company with high school teammate Erik Kohler, who made the trip out East with him. Kohler played on offensive line for Oaks Christian and received offers from most Pac-10 programs before committing to Washington.
Stout's teammate and fellow BYU commit Alani Fua was invited, but did not make the trip due to sustaining a slight concussion during the state semi-final playoffs. Oaks Christian came up short in the state championship, and it's very apparent to Stout that Fua could have made a difference.
"I think we probably win that game with Alani playing," said Stout regarding their 42-41 loss to Gardena Serra in the championship game. "He's such a huge part of our team, so yeah, not having him in there hurt us."
Fua's injury isn't believed to be serious and he's set to sign with Stout and arrive at BYU this coming August, if not before then.
Stout was very impressed with BYU's performance in the Las Vegas Bowl, as the game provided him with a lot of confidence regarding the future of the program.
"They blew out Oregon State, which is a top team, and that shows the nation right there that BYU is a top program," he said. "That's why I committed there among other reasons; they're a top program. It's my goal with the rest of the incoming class to keep BYU going as a top program while hopefully reaching new heights."
Throughout practices Stout has noted that his fellow participants have the same sentiments towards BYU.
"When people ask me and I tell them that I'm going to BYU, they just nod because they understand why I would go to BYU," he observed. "BYU is known as a top program and even more so after they beat Oregon State like they did. People know about BYU. It's no surprise to anyone why I committed there and why I'm going to play there. I just can't wait to get there to do my best and contribute to the team. I really can't get there soon enough."