BREWER, Maine — These are special times for Austin Lufkin.
Last Saturday, the Brewer High School senior from Clifton was awarded the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Award symbolic of being the state’s top defensive lineman during the 2016 football season.
And during a ceremony at school scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Brewer High School Hall of Fame, he will sign a National Letter of Intent to accept a full football scholarship from Wofford College, an NCAA Division I FCS program in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“It was awesome down there,” said Lufkin, who made an official visit to Wofford two weekends ago. “The facilities are really nice, and I liked the coaches a lot.”
Wofford, a member of the Southern Conference, is coming off a 10-4 season and won two NCAA Division I FCS tournament games before being eliminated by Youngstown (Ohio) State 30-23 in two overtimes in the national quarterfinals.
The Terriers finished the 2016 season ranked 11th nationally in the FCS coaches’ poll.
Wofford head coach Mike Ayers, who has guided his team to seven NCAA Division I tournament appearances during his 29-year tenure with the Terriers, followed up Lufkin’s campus visit by coming to Maine last Friday to check in on Lufkin and meet his parents, Michael and Selina Lufkin.
“That’s when we told him I’d be coming there,” said Austin Lufkin.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Lufkin was a dominant player on both sides of the line of scrimmage this past fall as the Brewer football team advanced to the Class B North championship game for the second straight season.
A team captain, Lufkin was named to the All-Pine Tree Conference Class B first team on both offense and defense as well as to the PTC All-Academic team.
Lufkin hopes to play on the defensive line at Wofford.
“The plan is for defense,” he said. “But they said the offensive line coach might be interested, too, but I didn’t meet him when I was down there.
“I’d much rather play defense. I like defense a lot better,” he added.
Lufkin’s chance to earn a scholarship from Wofford was aided by a Brewer High School connection.
Andy Kiah, a former three-sport standout for the Witches and the son of longtime former Brewer athletic administrator Dennis Kiah, has for the past 15 years served as director of athletic facilities at Wofford — which also hosts preseason training camp for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers each summer.
“Andy watches all the games, and he watched my highlight film,” said Lufkin. “He was the one who showed the Wofford coaches my film, and they liked it.”
Before deciding to accept Wofford’s scholarship offer, Lufkin visited Mississippi State, UMass Lowell and Rhode Island with an eye toward focusing on track and field at the Division I collegiate level.
Lufkin is the reigning New England champion in the shot put from the 2016 outdoor track season with a throw of 58 feet, 5¼ inches, and more recently, he snapped his own Eastern Maine Indoor Track League mark in the same event with a best of 59-11¾.
“When the football offer came around, I figured that was my best option,” he said. “I can do track down there, too, so that’s the best way to go.”