Football: Koontz signs with SOU | RecordCourier.com

Football: Koontz signs with SOU

by Joey Crandall

After receiving overtures for several months from a number of high-powered Division I football programs, Douglas High senior Brent Koontz made the decision to play his college football at Southern Oregon University in Ashland next year.

For the Raiders, it marks a true steal in the recruiting game as they will pick up the Northern 4A Regional Player of the Year and a guy who may have ended up starting at the Division I level.

For Koontz, it’s an opportunity to contribute immediately to a growing program.

“I really like the entire coaching staff up there,” Koontz said. “The school is very nice, it’s a beautiful area and it’s only about four hours from here so I can still come home when I need to and my family and friends can still come up and see my games.”

During his strong senior season, in which he picked off four passes, returning one for a touchdown, recovered a fumble, forced a fumble and recorded a sack while standing as an immovable force in the middle, he drew strong interest from Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV, Utah State and Cal Poly.

“Nevada was a big one, they were in it from the start,” he said. “UNLV came and actually visited the high school.

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“It came down to Nevada, Northern Colorado or Southern Oregon. I felt like if I went to a big school, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunities to play like I would at a smaller one.”

Koontz will play middle linebacker for the Raiders and he’ll get to keep his high school number, 41.

“Southern Oregon is a really nice fit for him,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “They’re pretty excited to get him. They play good football and it’s a beautiful town and a great place to go to school. They’ll be very excited when they see the caliber of guy that Brent really is.

“Any program would be glad to get a guy like Brent. On and off the field, he is a true leader.”

Koontz will be the latest in a train of former Tigers that have played at Southern Oregon.

Former linebacker James Powers started the pipeline in the mid-90s, followed by linemen Marc Garcia and Sili Mafua, starting quarterback Brandon Griffith and most recently Gabe Hatchett, among others.

“Overall it was a great experience,” Koontz said. “I was getting calls all the time and it was a great feeling to even feel wanted by these schools.

“After a while it starts to get frustrating because you have all these options and you have to make a decision that is going to affect your future.

“I am so thankful for my coaches and my family for all their hard work during this process. My parents helped me so much.

Koontz said he has been lifting weights regularly and working on his quickness and speed.

“Southern Oregon sent me a lifting schedule so I could be in step with them when I get there,” he said.

He’ll get one more chance to strap on a Douglas helmet this summer at the Sertoma All-Star Classic in Reno.

“That’ll be great, I can’t wait to put on my Douglas gear one more time and go out there with some of my teammates again,” he said.

— Joey Crandall can be reached at jcrandall@recordcourier.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.