ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Armel Mukam always dreamed of playing college sports, the Notre Dame signee just never imagined it'd be on the football field.

"I played hockey all my life, like 12 years," said Woodberry Forest senior defensive lineman Armel Mukam, "But then one day the head football coach at my old high school asked if I wanted to play football but then I just fell in love with it. There was just something that clicked about football."

After trading in his hockey pads for football pads Armel decided to take another leap of faith; transferring to a new school his junior for football, thousands of miles away from his home in Canada.

"I heard about Armel and when I showed up, I could tell, I think people around the game can just tell that he was big, strong and athletic," explained Woodberry Forest football coach Jackson Matteo, "Those things all add up usually to something pretty special, but again it's really about the work ethic that he has, I think that's his most unique trait."

That August just weeks before his first game as a tiger Armel suffered from a grade 2 MCL sprain, but the injury only motivated him further.

"He doubled down in the training room, he got treatment, he was doing everything he could," said Matteo, "I mean he was asking me for one legged exercises before we even had a real rehab plan for him."

Once he was healthy again Armel began racking in college offers, including Notre Dame where Mukam found the best of both worlds in athletics and academics.

"I want to do business and their business school is number 3 in the country," said Mukam, "They're always ranked in football and I'll always have the chance to compete with the best on and off the field. And compete for a national championship, so Notre Dame it is."

"It's a cheesy kind of cliche saying in all of athletics, but his best playing days are in front of him," said Matteo.