Mt. Lebanon head coach Mike Melnyk has a simple philosophy, in terms of developing players.
"I always say that our program is about building stars," Melnyk said. "They start as faceless players. We pride ourselves in putting kids in a position to be successful, use their talents to their success. Those are the kind of guys that seem to emerge, kind of like Tyler Roth last year. He was a guy who threw three passes in his career, and went on and led the Quad-A WPIAL in passing. We're hoping to continue that success."
Junior quarterback Kellen Stout fits that mold. He takes over the starting quarterback job for Roth. Even though it's his first time with the starting job, he's not nervous about it at all. Troy Apke and Alex Bookser were a couple of those 'faceless players' that Melnyk refers to, a year ago. Now, Apke is a Penn State commit and Bookser has accumulated of 30 offers.
With a go-to receiver in place, and an ideal offensive tackle to protect him, Stout approaches his first year as a starter with a high comfort level.
"We have Bookser, who I'm not worried about," Stout said. "He can pretty much handle anyone they throw at us. We have Troy Apke at receiver. Our receivers are all playmakers, big bodies. If I get the ball to them, they can make plays. Our running back, Jake Rolfsen, he's proved in the past he's ready and he's durable. He's fast. I have high hopes."
Maybe even a little more confidence in the line surrounding him.
"I feel like I have someone to prove myself to, and someone to look up to (in Bookser)," Stout said. "It's good to know that someone has my back. Literally and from talking to him, I know he's always there. I have big guys around me. I know they'll protect me, and it'll be good."
As for running the offense, which saw Roth throw for 2,514 yards, 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions last year, there's a lot to it. However, Stout seems to have a good grasp on it.
"For the guys we have, I think his offense is really effective," Stout said. "It's really complex, and we only scraped the surface last year with the time given. Once you get it down, you're good. I'm excited to start the year."
Stout has also done pretty good through a trial run this summer, testing himself at the Pitt passing camp, as well as some other passing scrimmages.
"We went down to Pitt, we do 7-on-7s," Stout said. "We did 7-on-7s with West Allegheny, South Fayette and Pine-Richland. Pitt, that went well. I felt we were playing a more realistic style than other teams were. In the long run, I think that will help us as opposed to other teams."
As for wrestling, Stout said both sports feed off each other well for him. His dad Bryan Stout was a four-time All-American at Clarion, the first wrestler to accomplish that feat. Kellen placed third this past season at the WPIAL meet, and qualified for the state meet.
"I think (wrestling) helps me in pretty much every aspect; football and life in general," Stout said. "It's kind of a mentality. It's a very intense sport. A lot goes into it. It's mentally hard on you. It helps me from the mental aspect. You're on the ground all the time, and I'm always giving my hardest all the time. I think it will help me in the long run. My dad, being the wrestler he was, has helped me out along the way. He's always there for me, giving me pep talks."
It's also a possibility that Stout may have to choose what sport to play in college.
"It might be," Stout said. "It's nice to have. I'm definitely not complaining about that."