For some, the jury is still out as to whether dreams do indeed come true. But Noah Houk, senior quarterback for St. Xavier High School, simply ignored the skeptics as he pursued his lifelong dream to play football for UK. Noahâ€™s father, Jeff Houk, had been UKâ€™s quarterback during the 1980s. Now Noah sought to do the same thing.
â€œIâ€™ve been a lifelong UK fan,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s always been something I wanted to do. Itâ€™s always been something I thought about since I was a little kid.â€
After months of waiting and deliberating, the emotional ups and downs hadnâ€™t discouraged the young manâ€™s pursuit of Big Blue Nation.
â€œI had some small school opportunities: Centre (College]) Wittenberg (University), schools like that. I had a preferred walk-on from Eastern Kentucky University and a walk-on from Western Kentucky University. Like I said, I was always holding out to see what would happen with UK, because thatâ€™s where I always wanted to go. When that opportunity came up, there was no more thinking I had to do.â€
Houk received a phone call around mid-March. After reviewing his tape, the coaching staff at UK had liked what he had to offer. They offered him a walk-on roster spot.
â€œInitially, it was an unbelievable feeling,â€ Houk said. â€œI was so grateful for the opportunity. It really worked out perfectly, as far as timing and everything. … Basically, thatâ€™s where I always wanted to go. It was a no-brainer and pretty easy decision to make.â€
â€œWithout a doubt, dreams come true. To play for a program like Kentucky is a blessing,â€ he says. Heâ€™s now focused on getting physically prepared to play in the SEC â€“ arguably the best conference in all of college football.
â€œI have total confidence in myself that if I do get bigger and stronger, and I do sit back and listen, watch film and watch the older guys â€“ I have complete confidence that I can play in that league,â€ Houk said. â€œReally, it is a humbling experience and a huge blessing.â€
There are many influential people who helped turn Houkâ€™s dream into reality. During his four years at St. X, coaches and teachers helped stir up the intangibles that have propelled him to this juncture.
â€œSt. X just, on and off the field, has helped me. Iâ€™ve always felt like I am a hard worker. But it has helped me to continue that mindset of being a hard worker. They teach me discipline and hard work â€“ and leadership. I believe that to be one of my strongest qualities â€“ leadership. So St. X has not only instilled new qualities in me but helped make those qualities I had before St. X even stronger. It has made me a better man, honestly.â€
The 6-foot-4 quarterback, who weighs 195 pounds, recorded 1,324 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, and he understands what heâ€™ll need to work on to become an asset to the football program at UK.
â€œHonestly, I am going to go and help out whatever way I can,â€ Houk said, â€œwhether that is in practice or playing in a game. I am going to bring in a positive mindset, work hard, and whatever I have to do to help us win games or be successful.â€
The high school senior, whoâ€™s already experienced that dreams indeed come true, might one day be asked to share his tremendous story with younger quarterbacks. Even now, heâ€™s decided he wonâ€™t wait till he has gray hair to shares some words of wisdom.
If he were given the microphone now, this is what Houk would say to anyone looking to chase a dream: â€œWork hard. I wouldnâ€™t be where I am today without, not only the people around me, but also hard work and a positive mindset. If youâ€™re positive and have confidence in your ability, I believe that you can achieve anything.â€ VT