Through some concentrated workouts at the Barton Camp in Washington, among other factors, Houk earned himself a spot at the Polynesian All-Star game in California and was immediately noticed by fellow participant Alex Kuresa and his family.
"I hit it off with Alex almost immediately," said Houk. "We became real good friends and he immediately started talking to me about BYU. I met his family and they were all great to me and when my family got there, they all really got along well. So it just went from there."
Through practices and the game, Houk and Kuresa formed some great symmetry both on and off the football field.
"We made sure we went through all the drills together," Houk said. "He really liked me and my abilities I guess, and I think he's a great player as well, so we just sort of stuck together with everything we did and it was great. We've remained very good friends since then and will be great friends while at BYU."
BYU assistant coach Nick Howell was also in attendance and was immediately impressed with Houk's potential.
"I sent film to Coach Howell right after the game and he immediately had Coach Doman watch it," explained Houk. "After Doman watched it, I guess he was impressed and then sent it to Coach Mendenhall, and then it really got started with my trip and them offering me a scholarship in January."
The Polynesian All-Star game, which allowed Houk to serve BYU and others notice regarding his abilities, was an accumulation of some late growth in his overall athletic abilities. As mentioned, he went through the Barton Camp, which really helped him with his route-running and other aspects of being a great receiver. But, other things contributed as well.
"I probably grew about three more inches from my junior to my senior year," he explained. "My hands got a lot bigger too, which really helped me catch the ball better. I had 46 receptions my senior year for 591 yards and five touchdowns. I was named First-Team All-League and really felt that I improved a lot."
Houk will now have the opportunity to continue his growth as a football player, but will also have the opportunity to grow as a student within BYU's very good engineering program. Being a top student is something he's excelled at for a long time, and he will continue that while at BYU.
"I sent out applications to schools like Stanford, Yale and Vanderbilt, and I probably would have been accepted to those schools with my grades and test scores," he said. "Academics are very important to me and I want to use my studies to help people. I don't know exactly what I'll be after a I graduate yet, but I believe that I'll have great opportunities at BYU to grow as a student, a football player and as a person. I couldn't be more excited."
Houk isn't LDS, but shares a very strong Christian belief system, which made him feel at home while on his visit to BYU a couple of weeks ago. In that way, he's very similar to current BYU player Joshua Quezada, who was his host while on his trip.
Quezada showed him around the dorms and really gave him a good sense of what BYU was truly like for a non-LDS student athlete.
"I'm so grateful that Juice [Quezada] was my host," said Houk. "He's great. I was a bit nervous about feeling awkward at BYU with it being a Mormon school, but it wasn't that way at all. I have the same standards as all the other Mormons that go to BYU. I have a strong belief in God and so do they. We all want to live clean lives and become the best people we can be, so I really feel that BYU is the best option for me."
At the end of his trip to BYU, Houk had the opportunity to sit down with head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Mendenhall was very straightforward with him about BYU's scholarship shortage, but expressed how much they'd love to have him as part of their program.
"I love Coach Mendenhall and how he is as a coach and as a person," Houk said. "Not just him, but all the BYU coaches. I could really feel how much they cared for me and my growth as a person, not just as a football player. I'm a spiritual guy and I definitely felt there that it was the right place for me to go."
Houk had to think it over a bit more before committing, however, and talked about it a lot with his parents a long with some more prayer. In the end, he felt he firmly received an answer that BYU is the place for him.
"I wanted to be totally sure of that and I am sure of it now," he summed up. "My family feels strongly about it too and we're all very excited for the opportunities I'll have at BYU. They have a great engineering program, great academics all around, and I'll be able to play football, which I love a lot. It's definitely the best option for me."