The wait was long, but the smile on A.J. King’s face said that all the time spent disappointed and confused was far behind him. Kyle Wilcox was next to him and he found the moment full of optimistic anticipation, as is his modus operandi. Neither were able to sign letter of intents next to their Armwood teammates back on February 2, after both were shunned by universities for different reasons.
Western Michigan University is where King will be catching footballs and studying next fall after signing his letter of intent Tuesday evening in front of a large number of friends and family in the Armwood football fieldhouse. In less than six months, he is expected to be cleared to practice fully on the injured knee that caused schools to pull their offers. He told me that a definite decision to redshirt him for the 2011 season has not been made, but it’s likely he will be.
A very tough senior season, one that saw him injure his knee before it even began and culminate with his team coming up just short of a state title, was smoothed over by the Western Michigan scholarship offer. King said he has no intention of transferring to a larger profile school such as Purdue or Iowa State, the ones that spurned him. “I’m a respectful guy. When I say I’m going somewhere, that’s exactly where I’m going. I’m not going nowhere else.”
Wilcox has been accepted into the University of Pennsylvania and will play football for the Quakers next fall. He was left by Princeton at the alter back in February. His journey to Penn was helped by Jesuit senior quarterback Patton Chillura. Frequent workout partners, Chillura signed his LOI to attend Penn on signing day and told his future coaches about Wilcox. Obviously they liked what they saw when they watched Wilcox’s film. After visiting the campus in west Philadelphia, Wilcox was sold.
Wilcox had other options: he was extended preferred walk-on status to play football at both the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. Northwestern University extended an academic scholarship and told him he had a spot on the football team as well. Wilcox said his major at Penn is undecided, but he is interested in engineering. His older brother and legal guardian Justin, who plays football for USF, was next to him at the signing table.
Coach Sean Callahan would not let his two seniors be brushed aside. Indeed, through this unexpected ordeal, the Armwood family showed once again the closeness and resilience that embodies the championship team that they are.