Iowa's Desmond King on Verge of Stardom

Iowa Hawkeye cornerback Desmond King is poised for a breakout season.



It's already been mentioned that junior cornerback Desmond King was one of the main standouts of Saturday's scrimmage inside Kinnick Stadium. Iowa has a talented secondary, with guys like Jordan Lomax, Miles Taylor, Brandon Snyder, Sean Draper, and Greg Mabin all getting significant playing time so far in the Fall, but the guy head and shoulders above the rest is King.

The Detroit native didn't redshirt when he arrived in Iowa City, and that may be one of the better indicators of how well he is viewed by the Hawkeye coaching staff.

They've already sung his praises this Fall, and the expectations for him are the highest they've ever been.

"It's his third year on campus," head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "He has more experience than most guys at that point. He got thrown in there and really did a great job. I'm not sure he was full-throttle last year and I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, but it's just a young player that thought he had it figured out a little bit too much and that happens."

"He's really been a different guy," Ferentz added. "He trained extremely hard this summer. He's playing in practice at a really high level right now. Again, if we're going to have a good football team, guys that have played have to play well for us and he's certainly doing his part and really setting some tempo in the back end for us."

All that work in the offseason seems to be paying off for King. His play on Saturday was sensational. He had a few near interceptions, broke up several passes, and showed great instincts and anticipation by jumping several underneath routes.

"(The biggest area of improvement has been) being consistent with the communication in the secondary," King shared. "I'm helping everyone out, giving the linebackers a call, giving the in and out calls, contributing to the safeties and letting them know if it's a pass or not, and letting them read their keys."

He simplified his effort and his contributions, but he means much more to the Iowa defense. King is the lockdown corner that every power program hopes to deploy. You won't find his name on any national lists or radars right now, but he's on track to changing that in an instant. Him becoming a household name by the end of the season is a real scenario that could come to fruition.

Only listed at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, King is a physical player. He's got a stifling jam off the line of scrimmage, but his reads, reaction time, and closing speed is what separates him from other cornerbacks. It takes little time for him to diagnose a play and break on a ball.

King shut down the top Hawkeye receiver, Tevaun Smith, for nearly the entire scrimmage, and he'll be the secondary standout that the coaching staff will have the most comfort in putting on an island.

His production, as well as the rest of the secondary, has the trust and confidence level within the position group at the highest level.

"Playing with those guys makes it a lot easier," opposite cornerback Greg Mabin noted. "I can just worry about having to do my job because I know they're going to do theirs. It just adds that confidence to the secondary and then to the defense as a whole."

The starting quarterback has taken notice of the rise of the secondary as well.

"Definitely (impressed)," C.J. Beathard admitted. "(We) got a great secondary now with Desmond (King), Greg (Mabin), (Jordan) Lomax, and whoever the strong safety is, right now it's Miles (Taylor). They're doing a great job. There's a lot of talent back there. They're all older guys and veterans back there. They're leading the defense and that's what they need to continue to do."

The rise of King should be easily evident when the season kicks off on September 5. He's a guy that Big Ten wideouts will be well aware of by the end of the season, and it should result in his share of accolades at the end of the season.


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