”My mom was always saying, do something, don’t just be sitting up there not doing nothing and getting fat,” Kings said.
Heeding his mother’s advice, Kings took to Munn Field on Michigan State’s campus by himself to work out, doing cone drills, working with a ladder, running routes and throwing a ball to himself in his room.
”Whatever I could do to get close to football instead of not doing anything and come back and be not fresh at all,” he said. “I was just out there by myself, being in tune with yourself with what you’re watching and what you’re doing.
”I felt like I needed to be by myself so I could think more to myself because I was just out there grinding hard by myself.”
It was a time of major growth and reflection for Kings as coach Mark Dantonio announced he was suspended from spring football on April 15 for a violation of team rules. The Detroit Free Press later reported Kings was arrested on April 6 after registering a blood-alcohol content of .234 on a preliminary breath test. Kings was charged with driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or above, and operating while intoxicated by alcohol, a controlled substance or a combination. According to the Free Press, he was sentenced to 13 months of probation on July 7 after pleading guilty to the DUI with the OWI charge dropped.
Kings said now he is a lot different person than he was at the time he was arrested. Looking back on what he refers to as “the wrong decision,” he says it is not even a thought to make the same mistake twice and he has grown a lot.
”I always harp on not taking anything and your opportunities lightly now,” he said. “I’m not taking things for granted because it can be gone like that. …
”Now, I’m more humble and more in tune with everything in my life and school and I’m just a different – I’m a changed person.”
On Tuesday, Dantonio said Kings now is doing what he is supposed to do.
Wide receiver coach Terry Samuel seconded Dantonio’s words, saying Kings is a lot more professional in his approach now.
”With some of the things that happened, he has more appreciation for some of the gifts he has and he’s been on time, taking care of business,” he said. “I like the new 85.”
On the field, Kings is starting to get back into the swing of things. The work he put in during the spring on his own helped, but still he had to regain timing with the quarterback and sharpen his play.
”I felt like I was late on everything, but I don’t feel like that anymore,” Kings said. “Now, I’m just in the groove of things. I feel good and feel confident as always.
He had a 43-yard punt return against Eastern Michigan last Saturday and had two catches for 36 yards, looking on time and ready to go.
”We are finally trying to get him into a rhythm now without having the spring,” Samuel said. “I was waiting for him to get his legs up underneath him. I think he’s got his legs and I think he’s playing his best ball.
”I told him just the other day that was the Macgarrett that left the Rose Bowl playing in this game.”
Senior wide receiver Tony Lippett said Kings has been more attentive to coaches and learning now, adding that he has been getting back to being himself on the field.
”He is looking good out there and he is cutting like he wants to cut and he is doing his job out there and is back to making plays,” Lippett said.
But whatever role and statistics and type of season Kings puts together, he is trying to make the most of opportunities.
”I’m just out here having fun and playing the game of football and trying to get to that national championship as Coach D always talks about, not worrying about myself because it’s not about me, it’s about the team,” he said.
And above all, he is just appreciative of being back on the field.
“I’m just happy to be back,” he said.