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Coeur d’Alene’s Colson Yankoff impresses on and off field

Coeur d’Alene quarterback Colson Yankoff received his first recruiting letter arrived when he was in eighth grade. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Coeur d’Alene quarterback Colson Yankoff received his first recruiting letter arrived when he was in eighth grade. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

He stands 6-feet-4, weighs 210 pounds, runs a 4.6-second 40, vertical jumps 39 inches and ranks seventh, according to ESPN.com, among Class of 2018 quarterbacks.

Coeur d’Alene High senior Colson Yankoff is the complete package on the football field, and he just might be more impressive away from it.

He carries a 4.3 weighted grade-point average and answers a reporter’s questions with an occasional “yes sir.” Vikings coach Shawn Amos says the best thing he can say about Yankoff is that there’s nothing bad to say.

“He’s the guy,” Amos said, “but he doesn’t act like the guy.”

Those types of compliments seem to mean more to the 2016 Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year than a stack of recruiting letters.

Yankoff has no idea where he ranks on Coeur d’Alene’s all-time lists. He can tell you his goal this season, and it has nothing to do with his stats.

“We think we have a chance to do something special,” said Yankoff, who could miss the first few games as he recovers from meniscus surgery in May. “Obviously a state championship is the goal.”

His first recruiting letter arrived when Yankoff was in eighth grade. It was a form letter and contained nothing particularly special or memorable.

Except to the recipient.

“For me, it was, ‘Oh my gosh, this might actually be possible,’” Yankoff said.

Numerous other schools quickly joined the pursuit, wowed by his measurables, game tape and smarts. He had nine scholarship offers from coast to coast when he committed to Oregon the summer following his sophomore season.

Yankoff de-committed when the Ducks fired coach Mark Helfrich. Schools swarmed around Yankoff like blitzing linebackers but Washington’s pitch was the most convincing.

Yankoff, No. 89 in ESPN’s Top 300, committed to the Huskies in March. He will join No. 30 Jacob Sirmon, a quarterback at Bothell (Washington) High, at UW.

“I figured I’m going to have to compete whether it’s (against) a younger kid, older kid or the same age as me,” said Yankoff, who will enroll at Washington in January.

Yankoff has successfully juggled three sports and school work. He credits his father, Trevor, who played quarterback at Brown University, for managing the recruiting aspect so he could concentrate on athletics and academics.

Yankoff played varsity basketball last year and long-jumped in track. The latter is where his knee injury occurred. His summers are busy with elite camps and he said the “coolest thing” was meeting former NFL coach Jon Gruden.

He can’t remember his last ‘B’, but suspects it was in Advanced Placement (AP) calculus in his sophomore year.

“It’s tough at times, especially when you’re practicing until dark and you have to go home and do four hours of homework,” Yankoff said. “I’ve had some late nights and some really early mornings.”

Yankoff probably saves hours by largely avoiding social media. He has a Twitter account, mainly because schools use social media for recruiting, but rarely posts. He isn’t on Facebook.

Amos has had a string of standout quarterbacks, including Chad Chalich, Amos’ son Gunnar and Austin Lee. Chalich played at Idaho and Montana. Gunnar recently transferred from Idaho to Idaho State.

“Gunnar and Chad could do all the same things as Colson, it’s just that Colson elevates that with his talent level,” Coach Amos said. “His physical skill set is off the charts.”

Yankoff is humble, occasionally forgetful and a little bit goofy, Amos said. “I tell him, ‘You’re like a 6-4 version of my son.’”

Yankoff doesn’t disagree, mildly protesting, “I just have football on the brain, sometimes I don’t remember the little things.”

Yankoff can’t wait to get back on the field. He should be ready for most of Vikings’ biggest games, including their three IEL contests. Asked for his favorite moment on the field, Yankoff sounds eager to make up for lost time.

“Maybe,” he said, “it’s yet to come.”

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