Countdown 2008: Mitch King

How many four-year starters has Iowa had on the defensive line over the past three decades? Jared Devries is the only one that comes to mind, and he will have company this fall as Matt Kroul and Mitch King join that exclusive club. King has put together an exciting and productive career and the best may be saved for last as we look ahead to his 2008 season...

2007 By the Numbers:  Named first team all-Big Ten by league coaches and second team by league media . . . started at defensive tackle in opening win over Northern Illinois as defense allowed just 21 rushing yards and 235 yards total offense . . . recorded three solo tackles and one assist vs. Northern Illinois . . . had three tackles for loss of 28 yards, including two QB sacks for minus 24 yards, along with one pass break-up . . . started at defensive tackle in win over Syracuse as defense allowed just 24 rushing yards and 103 yards total offense . . . recorded four assisted tackles vs. Syracuse, including one tackle for loss . . . started at defensive tackle and played every defensive down in loss at Iowa State . . . recorded career-high 10 tackles at Iowa State, including seven solo stops and one tackle for loss while also adding one pass break-up . . . started at defensive tackle in loss at Wisconsin, recording seven tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass break-up . . . started at defensive tackle in loss to Indiana . . . recorded seven tackles vs. Indiana, including one tackle for loss, along with one pass break-up and two QB pressures . . .

 

Started at defensive tackle in loss at Penn State . . . recorded seven tackles at Penn State, including three solo stops . . . matched career-best with two QB sacks at Penn State and had a forced fumble . . . started at defensive tackle and recorded one assisted tackle in win over 18th-ranked Illinois as defense allowed top rushing team in the conference to 137 net rushing yards and 287 yards total offense . . . started at defensive tackle in loss at Purdue . . . recorded four tackles at Purdue, including three solo stops, 1.5 tackles for loss and a shared QB sack . . . started at defensive tackle in double OT win over Michigan State, recording one assisted tackle . . . started at defensive tackle in win at Northwestern as defense allowed just three points, seven yards and 124 yards total offense in the second half . . . recorded three tackles at Northwestern, along with one pass break-up and three QB pressures . . . started at defensive tackle in win over Minnesota . . . recorded one solo tackle and four assists vs. Minnesota, including 1.5 tackles for loss . . . started at defensive tackle in loss to Western Michigan . . . collected one solo tackle and four assists vs. Western Michigan, along with 1.5 tackles for loss and two pass break-ups.

 

The Analysis:  Here is a trivia question that I will admit right up front that I don't have all of the answers to, or at least, I am not sure if I do or not;  name the number of four year starters Iowa has had on the interior of its defensive line in the last half century.

 

Jared Devries, Matt Kroul and Mitch King are the only three that I can recall for certain.  There may be others, and if there are the list is very, very short.  Kroul and King are set to do that this year, which is not something you see at many Big Ten schools, period.

 

King has been a fan favorite since his redshirt freshman year when he moved from linebacker to the line of scrimmage during spring ball.  Iowa had a need on the line, and the chances of his earning playing time on the line was better than seeing snaps at linebacker.  So the coaches convinced him to change positions and it has been a very entertaining ride ever since. 

 

In fact, King's 60 tackles as a freshman are his high water mark for a season, as he has tallied 58 in each of the past two seasons.  He has been tackling runners for loss each year on the field, as he has hit double digits in that category in each of his three seasons at Iowa.

 

King is one of those players that people refer to as having that ‘extra heartbeat'.  King needs it, because he isn't your prototypical Big Ten defensive tackle; he is listed at 6-3, 264 and often gives up 30 to 40 pounds of weight to the offensive lineman on the other side of the ball.  Well, you can make that 330 to 340 pounds of weight, because King is a very popular player to double team because of how disruptive he is on the interior.

 

Which is a great asset to have, especially with the athleticism Iowa hopes that it has on the outside this year with Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard.  That's not to say that Ken Iwebema and Bryan Mattison weren't athletes, it's just that Ballard and Clayborn showed something off the edges in spot duty last year that we haven't seen since Matt Roth and Howard Hodges were on the field at the same time.

 

Iowa also hasn't had an inside-outside rush combination since Roth and Jonathon Babineaux in 2004, either; players that can be disruptive to a running and passing game due to creating penetration from two places.  Iowa may have that this year and King may enjoy a luxury he hasn't seen in quite some time; one on one blocking.

 

It's fun to imagine what that could be like, and if Clayborn and Ballard do their job on the edge, King and Kroul are going to have outstanding senior seasons.

 

King has done well with facing double teams.  He has a quickness off of the snap that is reminiscent to Roth, but he is a more fluid ‘penetrator' than Roth was.  Roth could get by with a bull rush, where King has to ‘get skinny' and use technique and angles to his advantage, something he is very good at doing.

 

In my opinion, Mitch King is the player that Iowa can least afford to lose on the entire defense, because of the attention he is going to attract early on this season.  If the two young defensive ends carry their weight, a weight will be lifted off of King…then again, that might prove to be too costly for opposing offenses.

 

Either way, someone is going to wreak havoc on the line in that situation, and King is truly the lynch pin to just how good Iowa's defense can be in 2008.

 

Finally, it's hard to believe that King will be a senior in 2008.  Time flies while watching the big dogs eat.

 

King's Collegiate Stats

Defense

Solo

Ast.

Total

T/Loss

Sacks

PBU

QBH

FF

RF

Freshman

36

24

60

11/28

2/7

3

3

3

0

Sophomore

35

21

56

14/49

7/35

2

3

0

1

Junior

25

33

58

14.5/77

4.5/45

7

5

1

0

Career

96

78

174

39.5/154

13.5/87

12

11

4

1

 

Career Bests
 
Tackles:   10 at Iowa State, 9/15/07
Solos:      8, twice, last vs. Syracuse, 9/9/06
Assists:    6 vs. Indiana, 9/29/07
TFLs:      3.5 at Wisconsin, 11/12/05
Sacks:     2, four times, last at Penn State, 10/6/07
FF:          1, four times, last at Penn State, 10/6/07
FR:          1 vs. Wisconsin, 11/11/06
PBU:       1, nine times, last vs. Indiana, 9/29/07

 


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