FORT MILL, SC – There comes a time when you can’t be afraid to think outside the box – even if the next step takes you between the lines instead.
Ben Wakefield is a student athlete at Ford Nation High School in Fort Mill, where Michael Allen is the longtime head football coach.
“One of our coaches, Matt Harrison, just walked past him in the hallway,” Allen told Channel 9’s DaShawn Brown.
“And he came up to me and said ‘do you play football?’ and I was like, ‘I used to play hockey but I quit last year,’ Wakefield said. “And he was like, ‘Okay, now you’re playing football.'”
If that sounds simple, it kind of is. The Canadian-born first cut his teeth on the ice, but now he’s tackling something new: football. Wakefield says it’s a sport he’s never played, unless you count once in sophomore year.
“It was a short time ago,” he said. When asked how much he had withheld, he replied, “None of that. It was learning a whole new sport.
When Brown asked Allen what he remembered about Wakefield’s first practice, he received rave reviews.
“Ben was a little nervous at first, but he had a really good offseason in the weight room. A really strong man,” Allen said.
“I wasn’t exactly coordinated in there, so my first practice was a lot of ground balls, shaking my head, but we got there,” Wakefield said. “It took a while. I started catching them eventually.
He’s started turning heads now. The junior tight end has gradually earned his place among the Falcons. He says he has learned a lot since switching from hockey to football.
“They are both fast sports. They are both physical sports. You have to keep your head up and know where everyone is or you’re going to get hit,” Wakefield said. “They’re both fun.”
“He’s just a very complete human being. Academically he’s very strong, which makes his future as an athlete even more promising. Because that’s the first thing they’re going to ask me when they’ll walk through the door,” Allen said. “So he’s already on the radar. They know it’s a draft, but they also know how to keep tabs on this guy.
(WATCH BELOW: The Presidents Cup kicks off in Quail Hollow; former presidents and celebrities are expected to attend)
©2022 Cox Media Group