Not Playing Games: Two Elite Athletes Serious About Love, Marriage and Business (A UCF Love Story)

By Camille Dolan ’98

As a high school student in Miami, Torrian Wilson ’14 was rated as the eighth-best offensive guard in the nation, and was recruited not only by UCF, but also Stanford, Louisville, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Michigan and USF.   

Long before Afia Charles ’14 ’17 received a full-ride scholarship to UCF because of her track-and-field skills, she had honed her competitive spirit through her family; Afia’s mother was an Olympian who instilled the same discipline to be the best at whatever her children attempted.   

“I mean, at the end of the day,” Torrian says, “She just chased me down and I had to fight her off.”   

Torrian is joking, of course. Lightning-quick Afia could have chased him down, but the way the elite athletes became something more was because of Torrian’s kindness.  

When the two were freshmen student-athletes in 2010, they lived in Tower Four – Afia on the fourth floor, Torrian on the fifth.   

“As new freshmen, we were all just trying to meet each other,” Afia says.   

There was a knock on her door, and she opened it to Torrian – all 6 feet, three inches and 305 pounds of him.   

He had come by to see Afia’s roommate, Destinee. Destinee and Torrian were high-school friends. When Afia opened the door, Torrian had not yet perfected his game – instead of greeting his future wife, he just asked the prophetic words, “Is Destinee here?”   

Destinee was there, of course, but Afia’s real destiny had literally been knocking on her door, and she had failed to take heed.  

Afia said, “She’s over there,” and pointed. “And then I just kind of ignored him while he visited my roommate.”   

“It was love at first sight,” Torrian says. “She just had something about her, something about her energy. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.”  

“No sparks flew when I first met him,” Afia says.   

She did take notice that he was coming down to the room more and more. But instead of going to Destinee’s side of the room, he was coming on her side of the room.  

She thought to herself, “OK, I see what’s going on here,” but never talked to Torrian about it.  

When Afia’s godsister was visiting, again Torrian came by. “I was like, man, this guy comes over literally every day,” Afia says. “My godsister said, ‘I think he likes you.’”  

Torrian went to Sandy who was another one of his high school friends and told her to talk to Afia. Sandy told Torrian that Afia was not interested, but Torrian persisted.  

“I was like, nope, not interested,” Afia says. “He’s not my type at all. But he just kept constantly coming, showing up, and so I finally gave him my number.”  

Afia and Torrian had reached the texting level of a relationship. And then, Torrian got a lucky break. It began to rain.  

“I was in class and realized that it was raining and I had just got my hair done. I sent Torrian a text that it’s raining and I told him I do not want to get my hair messed up,” Afia says.  

“Well,” Torrian says, “I said, ‘well, you ran track, didn’t you? Why don’t you just run really fast to your room? You should be OK.’”  

Afia just laughed at that. And as she was coming out of her class, there was Torrian, holding an umbrella in the rain. He held it over her head as they walked back to her dorm, paying no attention to the fact that he was getting soaked.   

“It was a really small umbrella, and so I just took it from him and held it,” Afia laughs. “And ever since then, we were just stuck together every breakfast, lunch and dinner.”   

The elite athletes had been trained throughout their lives to prepare not only physically, but mentally for competitions. Their coaches had not told them how to navigate the complexities of romance.  

“I don’t think our relationship had any impact on our performance because the great thing about dating an athlete is that they understand the schedule,” Torrian says. “Afia understood when I didn’t feel like talking, or if I just wanted to go to sleep.”  

“It was a unique situation,” Afia says. “Since all of the athletes were in the same dorm, we knew we would see each other at least once a day.

Sometimes I would get in trouble because Torrian would come out to the track, which was next to the practice field and yell my name, and my coach would have to tell me to pay attention.”  

Toward the end of their sophomore year, Afia qualified for the Olympics, which resulted in a brief separation for the couple. After college, Torrian was recruited for the National Football League.  

“We’ve never broken up,” Afia says, “But sometimes our careers had us in two different states. We were always making an effort to at least see each other once a month or as much as we could.”  

“Absolutely,” Torrian says. “You answered that perfectly.”   

Occasionally, the life of an athlete – and sometimes, even the athlete – has some bumps and bruises along the way.   

“Whether it’s injuries, whether it’s getting cut, whatever it is, sometimes you do bring it home with you,” Torrian says. “Especially with football players, whose ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL. And then, if thing don’t work out that way, sometimes you do bring it home and your partner suffers. And that’s something that I really tried to be mindful of.”  

Afia says she had to remind Torrian that she too had played sports at an elite level, and she understood the highs and the lows. The couple grew closer because they began to concentrate on their own team of two.  

“Since we’ve started working together,” Afia says, “It’s more important than ever that we are on the same page, whether it’s growing our business, or learning how to communicate more effectively with each other.   

“It’s kind of like the training that we had when we were learning how to become athletes. If you really dedicate the time and effort into putting that hard work into it, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.” 

Torrian  helped lead UCF to a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2013. After graduation, he played for the Detroit Lions, the New England Patriots and the Orlando Predators. When Torrian was finished playing in the NFL, he became an assistant offensive line coach for FIU, and also coached high school football at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Now, Torrian started his own training business, Crafting Linemen, a training program designed for the big athletes in football, providing elite-stye training for youth athletes and pros. So far, Torrian’s program has produced more than 100+ football players in the NFL, college, high school, and youth.   

Afia was UCF’s first Olympian and represented Antigua and Barbuda in the Olympics in 2012. Afia received her bachelor’s degree in 2014 in health sciences, and her master’s degree in health services administration in 2017. She is first-ever UCF Knight in Track and Field to be inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021.  

She was an Administrative Fellow at Penn State health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and then transitioned into health care administration for three and half years. Afia is set to begin working with her husband, as she teaches elite athletes and individuals how money works and the basics of conserving and growing their wealth.   

“We look forward to bringing financial education to our athletes to allow them to be ahead of the game,” Torrian says. “We were in their shoes, so we definitely know what they need to expect, and what they need to thrive. And, I mean, Afia is small, but she’s feisty, and she knows how to hold them accountable.”   

“When Torrian and I have children,” Afia says, “One of them will have to go to UCF,” she laughed. “UCF has just provided so much for us and has helped us accomplish things that we never thought we could do. We have always had the support of our coaches, our teammates, our teachers and advisors. We hope that we can continue to give back to UCF forever.”  

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