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Brandon Huffman traveled to last summer’s Rare Academy showcase at Caldwell’s Simplot Stadium to see former Thunder Ridge star Tao Johnson (Utah signee). But the 247Sports national recruiting editor left also discovering one of the state's hidden-gem underclassmen.

Almost a year later, everyone else has uncovered it as well.

Kenyon Sadiq has gone from a little-known wideout to the top recruit in the state in the class of 2023.

The soon-to-be Skyline High School senior holds 17 NCAA Division I offers and counting, including Michigan and Oregon. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder became just the sixth 4-star recruit in Idaho history Monday, joining the likes of Gooding’s Colston Loveland (Michigan), who was just one last year.

"He’s going to be wanted more than even Colston was," Huffman said. “He’s probably going to have another 10 to 15 offers before it’s all said and done.

"I think the difference with Kenyon is more positional versatility. Not that Colston couldn’t be a hell of a defensive end, but there’s a reason why everybody was recruiting him at tight end. Where Kenyon could play one of any positions at an elite level."

That wasn't always the case for Sadiq.

Sadiq wasn’t like most of the underclassmen at the camp on the campus of the College of Idaho.

He wasn’t deemed the next big thing from an early age nor was he necessarily a returning star. Sadiq had spent one year in a program with one winning season in a decade in 2019 (Marsh Valley), then the next one as a third-string receiver on a senior-loaded squad about to win a state championship in 2020 (Skyline).

He was fast when his playing started in the fourth grade. But that was about it. Sadiq actually played running back for much of his career, including at Marsh Valley where he moved to in the fifth grade to help take care of his grandmother, who had breast cancer.

Sadiq helped his middle school teams qualify for nationals in Las Vegas where they won it all in the seventh grade. He then became the starting tailback for the Eagles during his ninth grade season, going 4-5.

Sadiq returned home to Idaho Falls for his sophomore year after his grandma’s cancer went into remission.

"It was definitely hard at times," Sadiq said. "I had to grow up quickly. But it actually ended up being a really good experience for me."

It took Sadiq a bit to get acclimated to the Skyline program.

He transitioned over from the run-heavy Wing T to a more pass-centric spread offense. Sadiq split time with junior varsity for the first few games of the season just to get some experience at the new wide receiver position.

"When he was at Marsh Valley, he didn’t really do a lot of route running or catching the ball at all," Skyline coach Scott Berger said. "We kind of turned him into a receiver from scratch."

Sadiq quickly took to it, though. Despite there already being a pair of all-state receivers in Conner Maloney and Eli Ames, he earned a spot in the starting lineup by season’s end. Sadiq caught a two-point conversion and recorded two catches for 45 yards in Grizzlies’ 42-22 win over Emmett in the 2020 Class 4A championship game.

"I definitely learned a lot from those guys like Connor who is playing at the next level at Idaho State," Sadiq said. "They helped shape me into the player I am today."

Huffman gave him a 3-star rating following his performance at the showcase and pegged him as the No. 1 recruit in Idaho’s 2023 class. Sadiq lived up to it and more.

He hauled in 79 catches for 1,166 yards and 19 touchdowns - two of those came in an unlikely appearance in the 4A state finals against Sandpoint.

Skyline had to replace 27 seniors and it showed early on. The Grizzlies began 1-3 - the worst start in a decade - before the first loss to Idaho Falls in eight years in the Emotion Bowl sent them to 3-4.

They didn’t lose again - and Sadiq was the human highlight reel.

He did everything from a toe-tapping touchdown grab against Idaho Falls to hurdling a Pocatello defender in the state semis to corralling in a 27-yard touchdown catch over two defenders in the corner of the end zone on a fourth-and-15 against Sandpoint. Sadiq also finished with seven receptions and 88 yards as Skyline broke its own 4A record with its eighth state title in a 20-6 win.

"This one felt a lot more earned, to say the least," Sadiq said. "We weren’t the juggernaut like we were before. We had our ups and downs throughout the season. People were against us and counted us out multiple times. So it was kind of more rewarding, to be honest."

The word was out now. But Sadiq didn’t just sit back and wait for the offers to come to him. He went to them with unofficial visit after unofficial visit.

The calculated move paid off.

Idaho State was the first Division I program to offer him in mid-February. The University of Idaho offered that same day before the rest of the Big Sky Conference did with Montana State and Northern Arizona, too.

Then, FBS schools jumped on the bandwagon a month later - with Iowa State being the first to offer in mid-March, followed by WSU, Kansas State, West Virginia and Utah a week later.

And on April 6, the biggest offer to-date came in - from Michigan, which played in the College Football Playoff in December.

"I remember texting one of the Big Sky schools that had offered him and said, ‘Hey man, just so you know, you’re not getting Kenyon,'" Huffman said with a laugh. "The secret is out.

"I think he can be a linebacker, a big safety, a tight end, receiver and a flex wide type of guy. A lot of times when you have a guy like that, sometimes you say jack of all trades, master of none, but in his case, he really does play a little bit of everything. So it’s more of a matter of when he gets to focus on one position, I think he will flourish at the next level."

Huffman believed it so much that he upgraded him on Monday to a four-star prospect, joining Loveland, Highland’s Tommy Togiai (Cleveland Browns), Highland’s Tristen Hoge (Notre Dame/BYU), Coeur d’Alene’s Colson Yankoff (UCLA) and Eagle’s Tanner Mangum (BYU) as the only ones the Gem State has ever produced.

"When you’re coaching, you’re always thinking you’re going to have guys like that," said Berger, who’s been there for 32 years. "But they don’t come around very often. At 61 years old, I’m way more appreciative of this now than when I was 35. 

"This is really special"

(Featured photo by Kyle Riley/Idaho State Journal)