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High school football: How A.J. West came from nowhere to help turn around Yukon's season

Yukon's A.J. West quit football in the seventh grade, but his friends were always trying to get him to play. He finally caved, and now he has more than 1,400 yards rushing for the playoff-bound Millers.
BY ED GODFREY Staff Writer Published: November 3, 2012

“He just wasn't very interested,” Wilson said.

Finally, after basketball season ended last year, West caved to the peer pressure and decided to try football.

Wilson teamed him with fullback Josh Bedell and middle linebacker Diego Duarte as his workout partners in the weight room.

“Josh has been the one who has pushed me every single day in the weight room,” said West, who went from benching 160 pounds to 260 pounds.

At a summer football camp at the University of Central Oklahoma, West was timed in the 40 at 4.4 seconds.

During his first live football action at a team camp, West made an impression on Yukon coaches.

“He started making plays and you get the feeling, he has a chance to be really good,” Wilson said. “He really has been a surprise for us.”

West said he is as surprised as anyone at his success this season. He is a big reason the Millers won four straight and advanced to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

West now laments, like the rest of Yukon, that he didn't play high school football sooner.

“I have just loved everything about it,” West said. “Especially as the season has gone, I'm like, ‘Gosh, I should have been out here awhile ago.'”

West wasn't on any college recruiter's list at the beginning of the season, but Wilson thinks that should change.

“I just have to think they are going to have to love what they see on video,” Wilson said. “He does things that others guy just can't do.”

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