Buffalo's Aidan Bouman has trouble remembering a time when he was something other than a quarterback.
"When I was in third, fourth grade, we'd be at my grandparents' farm and my dad would be out with me, working on three- and five-step drops," he recalled.
Dad is Todd Bouman, the Buffalo head coach and a former Vikings quarterback who had a 13-year NFL career. For Aidan, playing quarterback comes as naturally as walking.
In the 2018 season, he threw for a state-leading 3,474 yards and 41 touchdowns in nine games. The strong-armed, 6-6 Bouman goes into his senior season as Minnesota's top-ranked pro-style quarterback prospect.
And he can't wait.
Since losing to Prior Lake in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs last season (despite throwing for 526 yards and six touchdowns), Bouman has been dogged in his pursuit of improvement, both for himself and his team.
"I practice almost every day, to be honest," Bouman said. "In the spring, we'd wait around until the lacrosse game got over just so we could run some routes. It might have only been about 15, 20 minutes, but we got some throwing in."
Some might call it obsessive. But football is not just his love; it's genetically planted in his soul.
"Having a dad who played 13 years in the NFL, I've learned almost everything I know from him," Bouman said. "He's been great. He doesn't push me to do things, but we always talk football. He's taught me how to read coverages and where to go with the ball. But then after football, he's back to being a dad and doing dad things. I've got the best dad out there."
Physical skills notwithstanding — Bouman says he can throw a football a little over 60 yards on average and has thrown it nearly 70 — the best part of his game is his brain.
"I can see the defense and know what's out there before it happens," he said. "A lot of times, I know where I'm going with the ball before the snap. And I get the freedom to call what I want and throw it where I want."
Bouman loves everything about quarterbacking but says he gets the most satisfaction from being the field general. "That's the best part: being there for the team, cheering them on, bringing them together," he said.
Well, that and winning. He compared two games from last season to illustrate: an 80-70 loss to Elk River that broke numerous state records, and a 21-7 victory over Monticello two weeks later.
"Against Elk River, we were going up and down the field, but we lost and there were seven or eight things I saw that I wasn't satisfied with," he said. "Against Monticello, two interceptions, no TDs, but we won. I was much more satisfied."
Bouman has about three months of high school football left. He committed to the Iowa State Cyclones before last season and spent much of his summer in classrooms, preparing to graduate early. He expects to be in Ames, preparing for his freshman year, in early January.
With so much to look forward to, Bouman is getting restless for the season to start.
"I'm so fired up," he said. "There's nothing better than football."