Tell me a little bit about yourself Colson if you would…
Colson Yankoff: I should start with the school aspect of things. Obviously I’m a high school football player and I love that, but for me, I love academics first and foremost. It’s my goal to get into a college that I really enjoy not just because of the football program and the staff there, but also how they treat me academically at the school with what I want to major in to help further myself in my career outside of football.
What kind of academic interests do you have both now and also in the future with college?
You know it’s pretty early for me, I don’t have anything set in stone yet. As of right now I’m really interested in going into the engineering field, specifically in the aerospace field or something along those lines. I’ve always been a math and science kid, I’ve really enjoyed that stuff.
Have you already done any AP or honors courses?
Yes sir I’m taking two this year and I’m taking a bunch more next year as well. My tests for the two AP courses this year have actually already happened, you take them like a few weeks ago I guess. It comes earlier than the other finals. I took AP Physics and AP Calculus A/V this year. Technically I’m done with my math credits because I’ve been doing my math classes in my high school since I was in 7th grade. So I could be done there and I will probably go over to my local college in my town and maybe take some courses there and there’s some other advanced courses that my high school offers that are college alternative type stuff, like a stats class, stuff like that.
Have you already been looking into taking your SAT or ACT?
Yeah I’m hoping to take possibly an SAT this summer. If I can take one this summer that’d be great because you can take it however many times, which would be good to help me be even better prepared for the one during my junior year and get used to the formatting and that kind of stuff.
Have any of your school counselors reviewed whether you are in position with your overall credits and core courses and whatnot to potentially graduate high school early?
Well I talked a little bit about that with them. As of right now I’m not perfectly on track to graduate early, but there is a chance I could make it and especially if the college I end up choosing if they prefer I get there a semester early, that is probably something I could do without too much trouble. I’d just have to take one or two extra classes. I wouldn’t say that’s the plan at this point, it’s something we’ve considered and like I said, if I commit to a college and we talk and that’s something they would really like me to do, then that would be taken into consideration and that’s something that probably wouldn’t be too far of a reach to do.
Have you talked about that option at all with any of the programs currently recruiting you?
No, not really. It’s still early for that, but I want to be ready for that option in case it does happen.
Is there a smaller group of schools for you within the larger picture of all the schools recruiting you that if any of them want you to graduate early and come that you would be more likely to consider that request because of who those programs are?
There’s not one school or the other at this point where there would be the case. When I decide where I want to go to college, that’s then the conversation that I would have with that college, it’s not something I’m discussing with everybody, it’s not that type of thing at this point.
What is your thought process towards where your recruiting process is at this point in line of all the offers that are coming your way?
Candidly, I couldn’t be more happy than where I am right now, especially with living in North Idaho, you couldn’t ask for much more. It’s kinda been a dream come true for me right now. Where my thought process is right now, I’m just focusing on my high school football team because I still have two more years of high school football to play and I’m focusing on that right now especially with all our spring and summer stuff heating up now. There’s no reason for me to focus too much on colleges and recruiting at this point because I still have to go lead my team this coming fall. I’m just trying to focus on that and spend time with my guys and build relationships there.
From a style of play perspective—how would you describe how you play the QB position and what kind of offense did your school run this past season?
So we did a bunch of spread stuff and this year we’ll be installing a lot of new stuff, so it’ll be interesting to see how that all works out. We throw the ball quite a bit for a high school team which obviously I love. With my style of play, I like to think of myself as a fairly analytical kid with like I said about my math and science interests. I actually tend to overanalyze or overthink stuff sometimes so that can be a good thing and that can also be a detriment to my play since I can overthink things sometimes. I really enjoy that we are a fast-paced offense because it’s taught me a lot about not dwelling too much on the last play, or that missed touchdown or things like that.
Are you more a pure pocket passer or more of a mobile guy who likes to run and pass in your estimation?
I definitely think of myself as a mobile QB and I like to run. My JV year for whatever its worth I ran for as many touchdowns as I threw. I really enjoy running the football and it’s something I think I do well to a certain degree, but I pride myself on my ability to deliver the football which comes first, but I also am fairly confident in my ability to run the football.
Does your high school coach give you a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage with protection, play-calling, audibles, that sort of thing?
You know we varied some stuff during the past few years and I had quite a bit of responsibility my JV year which was great because I got to make a lot of different calls with some at the line of scrimmage with how our line works and stunts and that sort of thing. We’re trying to move to a much faster pace of offense with some no-huddle, so our coaches have started taking more of that responsibility, but our coaches still expect the quarterbacks to know all the details inside and out of the offense, what should happen when the defense does something. So I definitely have the responsibility still, but we’re definitely trying to move in the direction of getting everybody in the right spot quicker, getting the calls in quicker so we can be even better on offense.
Part of your process with recruiting I’m sure is evaluating the offenses of the programs recruiting you—how have your conversations gone with college staffs in terms of what their visions are for you in their programs, have you talked much with college coaches about that yet?
Yeah I wouldn’t say it’s been a primary discussion with them, but it’s definitely one I’ve had with many coaches. I want them obviously to believe that I fit in very well with their system and I want to do the same, and I want to understand what they do because I need to understand not just how they do things but why they do them and what their coaching philosophies are, that’s all super important when it gets down to it. I can’t even name off all the programs I’ve talked about that, but the schools that have talked to me a lot and that have offered me that I have had a chance to be around, especially local schools like Boise State and Washington—I got to go to their Junior Days and spend some time with them that I haven’t had a chance to do with some of the schools that are a little further away. So those schools I’ve talked with them and been able to get a little more in-depth with them just because it’s a little bit tougher to do that over a phone call.
What other programs aside from Boise State and Washington have you just had the opportunity to visit or to sit down with the coaches from?
You know I’m just kinda starting out my camp circuit for this year I guess you could call it, I went to Duke last weekend and got to talk to the coaches there, and I plan on hitting a bunch more schools this weekend actually. I had decided during this year that I was only going to be able to visit the local schools just because of school and the timing of everything. This weekend, this Saturday I’m going to be at Georgia for their camp, then right after that I’m going to head back to Stanford and most likely I will be hitting UW and Oregon as well. I think that’s about it for now because we then have our team camp for like a week and half or so, so I need to be back for that because my high school team is my priority because I want to be there for them. The rest of that stuff is yet to be determined.
What’s the difference in communication for you with the new Georgia stuff under Coach Smart versus the prior coaching staff?
I was not in contact with the previous staff before the switch, but following it they contacted me a little bit and they have been really cool to me especially being the really prestigious program that they are, they’ve been good to me, they’ve answered my questions and taken my calls, so I really appreciate that. That goes a long way with me.
Has Coach Smart or anybody on his staff discussed anything with you about a possible scholarship offer in the future?
That’s not really a conversation that I want to talk too specifically about just with any of the coaches and what they say in their recruitment of me and all that, that’s something I choose to keep private. So I do have conversations with those guys and we talk recruiting and how things are going, but that’s between me and the coaches and I like to keep it that way for the most part.
With visiting Duke—what did you think of the visit and what you heard and saw there?
Duke was everything I hoped it would be, I was very excited to make it out there for their camp. It was not an easy trip to make, but it was 100% worth it. It was awesome to be on that campus, I had never really ever been that far East before, so to experience that was great and their campus was just amazing with all the old buildings and the architecture, it was very cool to see all that. Then football program wise, that staff was literally amazing, they were so cool to me, I really appreciate the fact they would set aside time to talk with me and with the other players, that goes a long way in my book and it was a really great experience with them and with their program.
What was it about Duke that made you feel the way you felt about them going into that visit?
Duke is one of those schools for me that checks a lot of the boxes because of their football program, it’s definitely on the rise to say the least. Their staff is amazing, I couldn’t ask for much more there and they obviously check all the boxes on the academic side of things which like I said is of the utmost importance to me, so the fact that they feel the same way about that means a lot to me and that’s important to me.
How far back had the communication process been going with them prior to you visiting Duke?
We’ve been in contact for a few months which is how it’s been with most schools. I’ve been on the rise recently so that’s how far back it’s gone.
If you don’t mind me asking, how did the Duke staff present the scholarship offer to you?
Well, I got to talk with all their coaching staff including Coach Cutcliffe and they like the way I throw the ball to some degree it seems like, I would hope that they think that I fit into what they like they do as a team and that they believe I can be a leader on that team. I don’t want to talk too much about that conversation, but they have obviously shown faith in me and I appreciate that very much. I will definitely be staying in contact with them.
So were you there more to do a visit and spend time with them, or did you participate in a camp and get a chance to really throw before them?
It was a camp, one of their Saturday Night Light camps, that’s what they called it. They had food for all the players and then we got to go perform for them and then we got to go eat some more and chat with them, it was a really cool experience. Quarterbacks wise there were about a dozen kids, at least 7 or 8 of them were 2018 kids.
Big picture—how does the Duke offer affect things with the direction of your recruitment?
I try to not focus too much on that. I would hope it would further my recruiting process and with other schools as well, and obviously I could see myself at that program now. But I really try to not focus too much on that right now because if I do that, then I get too much into that and I wouldn’t be focusing on what I need to be doing at my high school. I try not to get too crazy with that.
What are your thoughts with being such an academically-oriented person that you have an offer from Duke now and you are getting ready to go visit Stanford?
It’s an honor quite frankly. Those are two schools that I always thought growing up that they would be cool places to be at because they kinda check the boxes for me. It’s been very cool that those two schools have ever even looked at me, it’s been quite the experience this past year to see that happen with those two schools.
Do you feel like you are at a totally different point in the recruiting process with Stanford as opposed to where you are with Duke?
I wouldn’t say I’m at a totally different point in the process but sometimes it’s hard to see where a certain staff has you so to speak, but I am in communication with them, I’ve had a coach at my school this past evaluation period from Stanford to chat which was very cool and I really appreciated them coming up to North Idaho to come see me. Beyond that I can’t say too much else because I can’t speak for them.
What are your’s and your family’s thought process towards the reality that you have college options to be a student-athlete all over the country—is that a big deal for you?
No, it’s pretty much if I find the right school, then I find the right school. Distance from home should not be an issue for me at this point. It will be taken into consideration just like all aspects of the program will be, but I’m definitely willing to go wherever to play where I want to play and study where I want to study, it shouldn’t be too big of an issue for me.