If this were the West Coast, not an eyebrow would be raised. With its large, long-established Asian-American population, surnames such as Wu and So are likely to pop up anywhere on the sports page there and only the athlete's family might take notice.
But the Baltimore area has a small (though growing) number of Asian residents and people don't expect to see Danny Wu and Kyong So listed among the statistical leaders in football.
Running back Wu (909 yards on 115 carries, 7.9 average, eight touchdowns), and quarterback So (40 of 85 passing for 632 yards, six TDs) have led Severn to a 5-2 record this season. The real curiosity is that the Korean-born So played center in recreation league football before converting to quarterback in the ninth grade, while Wu, an Annapolis native, never played organized football until transferring to Severn from Poly last year.
"I always wanted to play, and it was a chance to meet some people [at a new school]," Wu said.
Doug Williams, the Admirals' seventh-year coach, said, "He transferred in late last year and we didn't take a look at him because we had our team set. He didn't start until the third game and ran for almost 900 yards in just seven games."
In Saturday's 48-16 win over MSA C Conference rival Douglass, the 5-foot-8, 160-pound Wu showed how far he has come on one play. A 33-yard touchdown run, which started around the left side, featured broken tackles, speed and cutbacks, and ended with the senior crossing the goal line at the right corner.
Weight training (he bench-presses 225 pounds) has helped. "He's only 10 pounds heavier," said Williams, "but twice as strong as last year."
With a 3.6 grade-point average in advanced placement courses, Wu is in the top 10 percent of his class and would like to play Division III football in college, where he wants to study medicine.
So (5-9, 165 pounds) came out for football as a freshman and became the starting JV quarterback, somewhat to his surprise. "When I got here," he said, "they said I was a quarterback. I never thought I'd be one, but I guess it's worked out for the best."
"He showed he had a good arm and did real well," said Williams. "Then, as a sophomore, he beat out our senior starter after three games .
Saturday night, despite a pulled abdominal muscle that forced him to sit out the second half against Douglass, So planned to go to work at his parents' Glen Burnie restaurant. It's their dream for Kyong to become the first in the family to go to college.
And, of course, he'd like to play football there, too. He enjoys, he said, "the feeling after you score, the team aspect of the game. It doesn't really matter if you win or lose if you learn to play together and you make a lot of friends."
That's an auspicious start for any player on any coast.