Tears rolled down Kellye Kindred's face Wednesday as her son, Markus Wakefield, signed a letter of intent to play football at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
“I am just overjoyed,” she said. “It's been a great year. He is my first born. I had Markus when I was 17 so to see him and see what he has grown to be, it's just emotional.”
Wakefield, the Heritage Hall standout defensive lineman, signed with the Bison to culminate an anxious recruiting process for his mother.
“We got a little nervous here at the end,” Kindred said. “He wasn't getting a lot of phone calls. He had some stuff and it fell through. We got really nervous but it all worked out.”
Wakefield had received a football scholarship offer from Colorado State University but it was withdrawn after a coaching change, Kindred said. Wake Forest also seemed really interested in Wakefield but backed off after a coaching change there as well, she said.
Kindred wasn't sure when, or if, her son was going to receive another scholarship offer. They were visiting smaller schools in Kansas and Oklahoma in hopes of an offer when Heritage Hall sent film of Wakefield to Howard at the suggestion of another parent.
Howard coaches liked what they saw and Wakefield was immediately sold on Howard after his recruiting visit.
“I fell in love with it and the people out there,” Wakefield said. “It is a great place. There are a lot of opportunities out there. I love the coaching staff and the direction they are headed with the program.”
Wakefield admitted he wanted to leave Heritage Hall his freshman year. He wanted to play at a larger high school against more talented foes where he might receive more notice from college recruiters.
“I am so glad I stayed,” he said. “The people are great (at Heritage Hall.) They love everybody.”
Wakefield was described by Heritage Hall coaches as a quiet, unassuming leader who was the glue of the Chargers' team. Kindred said that is just her son's personality.
“He doesn't have to have all the hoopla and everything,” she said. “But he is a leader. He leads by example. He doesn't have to talk a lot. He just does what he is supposed to do.”
While Wakefield seemed unfazed by all of the attention during Wednesday's signing day ceremony at Heritage Hall, his mother couldn't contain her emotions.
“I don't really have a whole lot of words,” Kindred said. “I am very proud of him. He's worked really hard. He's really a good kid. I never had any really problems with him so I am just really excited. I am overcome with joy.
“Football is secondary to me. I am exited for him because he loves football but as long as he gets a degree, that's the biggest excitement for mom.”