RICHMOND, Va. -- If you are an athlete, finishing first is the ultimate objective. It’s why most people compete, if not to win, then to be the best version of themselves they can be.
K'Von Wallace checks all of those boxes.
Wallace has seen his share of firsts in his relatively short career. He helped lead Highland Springs to their first state title in 54 years, which led to three more after he graduated.
He's also the first person that he knew to go to college.
“My mom always told me I was rare. My mom always told me I was handpicked by God to be different and to do different things that people from my area never did,” said Wallace.
Wallace grew up in Creighton Court in the city's East End. The first time he ever met his father was in prison. He navigated drug dealers and the deaths of friends to land at Clemson, where he helped the Tigers win national championships and more importantly, where he earned his college degree.
He also played well enough to earn an invitation to this year's NFL Combine, where his prospective employers broke a couple of myths he had about what the NFL is really like.
“It`s definitely different than what you think. Completely different,” Wallace explained. “I dreamed about being at the combine and performing well and running fast, jumping high. Small things like that. You get there and it’s completely different.”
Wallace spent more time sitting, being examined, and answering questions than doing anything athletic. And the questions got more personal than he expected as well.
“How old were you when you lost your virginity? I got one of those. They just wanted to know your age and move on,” Wallace recalled.
The NFL has limited the contact that teams can have with the players they are hoping to draft.
Wallace expects to hear his name called in either the second or third round once the draft begins and has done his best to let all 32 organizations know exactly what they will get if they decide to draft him.
“A guy that’s going to change that locker room. A guy that’s going to be a leader on and off the field. A guy that’s going to make an impact in their community that I play in. They’re going to get a team player, a hard worker and a guy that just loves the game,” said Wallace.
Making a difference. Working hard for a goal. Being a leader. Wallace has done all of these because of the example his mother gave him at an early age, while working multiple jobs and going to school herself.
“All of this hard work that I saw my mom do, she instilled it in me. Knowing that, with hard work, God’s blessings are endless. Continuing to be a blessing to others is part of my why,” said Wallace.
Wallace plans to be in Richmond for the draft. Between now and then, he will go back to Clemson to continue his workouts.
While the NFL may be his job soon, his life job is to continue to be an inspiration and positive influence to the next generation. As he put it, if you do it for yourself, you won't get far.
Watch for Lane Casadonte's features on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com. If you know someone Lane should profile, email him firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find unique, award-winning stories every day on CBS 6 News.