After a half-dozen failed attempts at convincing Francis Kallon, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound transfer student from England, to try American football -- a sport he had never played -- the Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett head coach was ready for his final stab.
"I told him, 'You can do some big things, just give me two weeks to see if you like it. If you don't like it, go ahead and stick to basketball. There won't be any drama and we can both say we gave it a shot,'" Wofford recalled.
Much to Wofford's surprise, his words to Kallon that spring day, which were neither complex nor overly profound, worked. The teenager who wouldn't budge in the past, at last did just that.
"I'd say he tried five or six times," Kallon said. "He would use mind games with me. He would give me college letters for (Central Gwinnett running back) George Morris to give to him, which was funny. This time, he spoke to me on a level I could understand."
A few months have passed since then, and it is safe to say the Kallon experiment has been a resounding success considering he committed to Georgia Tech on Monday. In fact, he has become nothing short of a recruiting sensation.
Once an athlete who thought of himself as a basketball player, Kallon not only has enjoyed his new sport, but excelled at it. Colleges, who visited the Central Gwinnett campus to scout his teammates, gushed over Kallon's measurables and were equally blown away by his combination of athleticism, agility, power, energy, enthusiasm, hunger and effort.
One scholarship offer came. Then another. And another.
Today, Kallon, a rising senior defensive end, has 12 of them, a rather remarkable total for someone who has only practiced a few weeks and, lest we forget, won't even play his first real game until August.
And just because he gave his pledge Monday to the Yellow Jackets, don't expect the attention from colleges to stop.
"I actually don't call myself a football player, and I won't until I step on the field for the first time [for a game]. Right now, I'm a player in training. I use that to stay humble"
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