MILPITAS, Calif. -- Kelly King broke down a math problem on the white board at the front of the classroom. The football coach at Milpitas (Calif.) High School was preparing his students for a test when the door to his classroom opened.
In walked Vita Vea.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive end squeezed himself into a desk that was built for a much smaller student and waited patiently while King finished explaining an equation.
Once the students started to study in small groups, Vea moved to a chair in the front of the room. Tucked in the corner, he talked about his senior season and looked toward the future.
“We came out good this year,” he said. “We made it to the [CIF Central Coast Section Division I] championship. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish. Other than that, we had a good season.”
Speaking in a voice barely above a whisper, he was hard to hear over the students working their way through a study session. As fierce as he is on the field, he is reserved in social settings.
Football brings out the best in the prospect who is rated No. 277 in the ESPN 300.
“He’s very passionate on the field and he has a great desire for the game,” King said.
When Vea was asked about how he was introduced to the sport he said, “I just got dragged into it.”
He showed up at Milpitas as a freshman and was relatively new to the game. It didn’t take him long to catch on.
“I got the feel for it,” he said. “I started liking it.”
He can’t quite explain what drew him in, but he quickly realized that, for him, “there’s no other sport like football.”
Not including the final game of the season -- King is still finishing the stats -- Vea finished his final high school career with 356 tackles.
The four-year starter had 90 tackles and eight sacks in 2012 heading into the Trojans’ 35-28 loss to Hollister (Calif.) San Benito. Vea is so athletic for his size, he also spent time on offense, rushing for 787 yards.
“He’s got all the tools,” King said.
When asked how good Vea could be at the Division I level, King questioned the question.
“The next level?” he asked. “Or the next level after that? If things go right, he’s a guy who can probably play on Sundays.”
There is no doubt Vea has the talent to play at the next level. But he hasn’t started training for his college career yet. Right now, he is working to take care of things in the classroom.
“Everybody is interested in him,” King said. “We’ve got to get some classroom stuff done and then, once he gets that, he’ll have offers from everyone basically.”
The soft-spoken talent is working to get to the next level. He is trying to take care of the things he can control.
“I’m hoping to move up more and get better and better and better,” he said.
Vea is big. He is athletic. He is fast. He has all the tools coaches covet in a defensive end. Right now, though, “I’m still focused on school,” he said.
He is working hard now to secure his football future.