Boyle's Young is Area Lineman of Year

November 26, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

When the season started, Ian Young wouldn't have been a very good candidate for any award given to a lineman.

He was still learning his way around on the offensive line, and he wasn't even playing on the line on defense.

But his combination of speed and strength and his willingness to play where his Boyle County team needed him most have made him a valuable asset on both of the Rebels' lines.

So valuable, that the player who might be catching passes and playing linebacker if he had his way was voted The Advocate-Messenger Area Lineman of the Year in balloting of area coaches. The complete All-Area Team will be announced in Thursday's The Advocate-Messenger.


The 6-3, 222-pound senior doesn't turn heads when he walks out onto the field on Friday nights. But when he starts playing, that's another matter.

"He's been a leader for us," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "He's got great feet and he's extremely strong and he uses those tools to his advantage."

Young was one of those asked to replace the four offensive line starters Boyle lost to graduation. He was installed at right tackle in the spring, and he took to the position right away.

"In the back of his mind, he'd probably like to be a tight end or a receiver, but he's made sacrifices for this football team along with some other guys," Smith said.

"He stepped right in there and hasn't missed a beat. It was easy for him because of the tools he has to work with. We could do a lot of things with him."

Smith said those are things that not just any lineman could do.

"The thing that makes him different from everybody else is his explosiveness and quickness off the ball," Smith said. "He's got the strength to finish a block and make it a pancake block because he's moving his feet almost twice as fast as the other guy."

That footwork is what makes Young uniquely talented, Boyle assistant coach Chris Mason said.

"I think his feet are his greatest attribute," Mason said.

Smith said Young's success reflects the success of the entire offensive line, an area that was a question mark for Boyle when the season began.

"Ian's the kind of team player who would say he represents that whole unit up there and what they've been able to do," Smith said.

Young was also an important part of Boyle's traditionally strong linebacker corps last season and for much of this season. But injuries made it necessary to move him to defensive end in the seventh game of the season, and he's been there ever since.

"He's been very unselfish about the move," Mason said. "We probably had him playing out of position for four years, anyway, because he's a good defensive end.

"It's like having to block a linebacker at defensive end."

Smith's said that's where Young will likely play in college. The Boyle coach said Eastern Kentucky has already offered Young a scholarship, and he said more offers should be forthcoming.

Young is second on the Boyle defense in tackles with 89 stops, and he leads the Rebels in tackles for losses (16), sacks (four) and forced fumbles (three) going into Friday's Class AAA semifinal at Paducah Tilghman.

"He can do things a bigger, 285-pound guy can't do because of his athleticism," Smith said.

Smith said Young's strength is typical of players who are many pounds heavier.

"He weighs 220 pounds, but he's got the strength of someone who weighs 275 or 285," Smith said. "A lot of it's got to do with being born with it, but he's also worked hard in the weight room."

Not only does Young have enough strength to allow him to impose his will on opposing players, but he also gets a certain amount of enjoyment out of mixing it up.

"He's a very tough, hard-nosed, physical player," Smith said. "The more physical the game is, the better he likes it."

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