Working as an outside linebacker in Auburn’s "cinco package" that features three down linemen, two linebackers and six defensive backs, King pointed out after working hard to find a way on the field it was fun to do his part in a win.
“It was great,” King said. “It has been a long time coming. I have been working with everybody on defense from the safeties and I worked with the linebackers this week. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to get out there and play.”
While he only saw a handful of plays on defense it didn’t keep the former safety from getting in the action. Finishing with two solo tackles and one assist, King showed Defensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson that he is good enough to deserve a second look at linebacker for the Tigers moving forward.
“He got about seven snaps, I think, and played pretty well,” Johnson said. “He had one misalignment. He's only had a week at it and I thought maybe we needed to get him out at that time so he didn't bust another one. Looking back at the film, he really played well. We may work him into the regular linebacker rotation, I just don't know. Hopefully, that open date will give him a chance because he really did some good things.
“He's one of the best tacklers on the team, he's extremely fast, he's physical," Johnson said. "He just struggled out back with some of the things you have to do as a deep safety and you look at him sometimes and say, 'That guy is about 6-2, he's about 205, 215, he's a safety.' Well, he may be a linebacker and work him a little bit more there, but he's definitely going to be contributing on that 30 package.”
Playing mostly special teams in his first season with Auburn last year while backing up Robenson Therezie at the star position, King finished with just seven total tackles while playing in all 14 games. That left him with a drive to finish his career strong, something he finally saw pay off over the weekend.
“It was great,” King said. “It was a big weight lifted off my shoulders just to get out there and show people what I can do. I just want to keep improving and move on and make it happen next week.”
With Auburn preparing to face teams such as Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Alabama that will all spread the field, King could be a big addition for the Tigers as they try to match up across the field with speedy wide receivers and running backs. He pointed out that so far he feels like it may finally be a position he can call home for the last few months of his college football career.
“I feel like I did, but wherever they put me I’m just going to play,” King said. “I have good versatility with my size and speed. Wherever they want to put me I’m just going to do my best and go at it.”