2016 football prospect D’Eriq King is a two-sport star at Manvel (Tex.), as both the quarterback for the football team and the point guard for the basketball team, but, as versatile an athlete as he is – and that’s just what California offered him as, on Tuesday – football comes first.
“The basketball season overlaps by about 10 or 12 games, so after football season’s over, I just go and play basketball, and usually, I play right away, or I might wait a week or so, but it’s no big deal,” said King after football practice on Wednesday. “They know, and they know that I’ll come back.”
Last season, King averaged about 10 points and five rebounds on the hardwood, but it’s on the gridiron where the real show is. King has scored scholarship offers from the Bears, Baylor, Clemson, Louisville, Michigan State, Rutgers, TCU, Texas Tech and UCLA, and this season, he’s 31-for-44 passing for 485 yards and six touchdowns to one pick. He’s also rushed 25 times for 92 yards and three touchdowns. He’s not being offered by Cal, though, as a straight-up quarterback, but rather as an offensive athlete, though the coach who offered him – offensive coordinator Tony Franklin -- told him that he’d have a chance to sling the rock, too.
In fact, when asked about what makes the Bears stand out from the pack, the first words out of King’s mouth are “Coach Franklin.”
“It’s coach Franklin. Coach Franklin seems like a really good dude, and they’re actually going to give me a chance to play quarterback, so that’s a big deal for me,” King said. “They’re not just recruiting an athlete; they’re recruiting a quarterback, so that means a lot. The offense they run at Cal is the same offense I run in school right now.”
The 5-foot-10, 161-pounder likens what he would do at Cal to what Luke Rubenzer has done thus far, though he hasn’t seen an entire game, start to finish.
But, quarterbacking isn’t the only thing that King does on the football field, nor is it the only thing the Bears have offered him for. He also plays slot and occasionally outside receiver.
“Usually, in most of the games, when we’re up by a pretty good number of touchdowns, and the backup comes in and then I’ll go to the slot. Sometimes, I’ll play on the outside,” King said. “[Franklin] told me that I’m a really good athlete, that I’m really quick, that I’m really consistent with the ball, and that I’m one of the most athletic kids they’re recruiting in 2016.”
While King hasn’t met any of the coaches in person, his first point of contact was head coach Sonny Dykes, followed by Franklin two weeks later. That kind of high-level attention was quite flattering for King.
“It means a lot. It shows me that they’re really interested in me, and I talked with coach Dykes a little bit. He really likes me as a player, said I look athletic, and he can use me all over the field,” King said. “My first time talking to [Franklin] was yesterday (Tuesday), and I talked to Sonny Dykes a couple weeks ago. He was talking to me just about football, and about maybe coming down to Cal to visit. Franklin called my coach at school, and had me call him, and that’s when he offered me.”
While a visit out to California may not be imminent, there is one trip that King has already on his calendar: The matchup between the Bears and Texas on Sept. 19, 2015, in Austin.
“Oh, yeah. Most definitely,” King said. “I’ll definitely be at that game.”
King’s coach calls him a “perfect fit” for Cal, and with a 3.5 GPA, it’s hard to disagree. King was pondering majoring in engineering in college, before he thought better of it, given the amount of time he’d be spending on football. Should he commit before his senior basketball season, he said that he’ll forego the hardwood to focus on getting ready for his freshman season in college.
D'Eriq King Talks Tony Franklin, Cal Offer
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