For a guy who was lukewarm to football for the first 14 years or so of his life, Kingsley Wiafe has certainly been worth the wait for Woodbridge.
Wiafe, a college prospect at defensive tackle, played soccer and basketball as a child and finally caved to classmates' pressure by attending a high school football organizational meeting when he was in eighth grade at Woodbridge Middle School.
Friends "were just telling me I should [play] because I have the size and everything," said Wiafe, a 6-foot-3, 250-pounder who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. "And it made sense to me, because I do have the size."
Just as important, Wiafe has the capacity to learn. He showed up at Woodbridge knowing very little about football technique. But that also meant he showed up with no bad habits. After playing as a freshman and then sitting out his sophomore year because he was academically ineligible, Wiafe last season became a full-fledged football project for Coach Keith King.
"Kingsley's not playing a great deal probably helped him become more coachable," King said, echoing a word Wiafe had used to describe himself. "Because he came in [with the attitude of], 'Hey, you guys know football. I don't know anything. Teach me.' He learns every day.
"Sometimes you get kids [who say], 'I've been playing football since I was 6 years old.' That doesn't mean you learned football right. You could have been doing it wrong for a long time. Kingsley's the type of kid who actually takes [instruction] to heart and tries to get better."
Several colleges are tracking Wiafe, an honorable mention all-Cardinal District pick last season. The schools he is most interested in so far are Marshall and Hofstra, because he has relatives near each campus.
For now, his football education continues at Woodbridge.
"All I'm trying to do is take everything that they're teaching me, try to take everything in," Wiafe said. "If Coach believes in me, then I guess I owe it to him to give him the best that I've got. It'll show as long as I keep working."