Muscatine All-State running back Alphonso Soko’s gridiron journey began in sixth grade.

“I started playing football in sixth grade. I grew up playing soccer, but once I started playing football, I knew it was the sport for me,” said Soko. “I always liked the aggression of football. You can’t be that physical in soccer.”

Last week, Soko decided to verbally accept a full scholarship offer from the University of Northern Iowa.  Initially, Soko was planning on matriculating at the University of South Dakota, but when UNI came into the picture, Soko felt that was a better fit. “One of the main reasons I picked Northern Iowa was because it was closer to my parents, who live in Cedar Rapids. And they want me to play runningback. South Dakota wanted me to play corner and return kicks.”

The Muskie speedster finished his career at MHS with 2,103 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Soko also has proven to be one of the most dangerous kick returners in Iowa, returning three punts for touchdowns in just five attempts this season.

The 5’10” runningback will have to beef up as he jumps to Division I football. “I weigh 189 pounds right now. UNI wants me to be at 195 or bigger.” UNI offers the opportunity to play right away. “They only have one runningback right now on the roster, so as soon as high school is over, I am going to get up there and start working out with the team so I can play my freshman year.”

Soko told the Voice of Muscatine that Iowa State University and the University of Iowa are still in contact and that a scholarship offer may come closer to National Signing Day, which is February 1, 2017. If one of those schools were to offer, there may be an opportunity for him to play in a Power 5 football conference.

Alphonso Soko breaks away to score one of 28 career rushing touchdowns.
Photo by Erika Eller