Greensboro (NC) Northern Guilford high DE Gabe King may have only played in eight games last year, but that hasn't stopped big time programs from across the country from lining up at his door. This havoc wreaking athlete impressed scouts enough in during his abbreviated season to command over 25 offers this winter. As a matter of fact, his strong combination of size and speed is causing more and more suitors to come to the party every day.
"My season went alright," King said humbly. "I had a long season actually. Something came up where I was out of district and I had to be removed from my team in my eighth week of playing football. I still led the team with 75 solo tackles, so I did alright."
"(Coaches) can see that I can move, I'm very athletic, and very flexible in my hips," he continued. "I can read the play. Even when I misread the play, I have the speed to catch up to the play and still make the play. I am very versatile player. I am 6-5 3/8, I last weighed in at 253, and I ran my last 40 in 4.6 (seconds)."
With so many schools definitive interest, the task of sorting through them could become overwhelming. To prevent that, King has established a very basic criterion for determining where schools stand with him.
"I just talk to the coaches" said King. "I get my feel, and by the initial conversation that I have with the coach, I'm going to be able to decide (whether the school will make the cut). I'll be able to choose if I like it or not like it just by the conversation with the head coach."
Upon receiving an offer from the University of Michigan a few weeks ago, the talented youngster had the chance to chat with Rich Rodriguez. It was a conversation that definitely left a lasting impression.
"I talked to (Rodriguez) and he made a statement to me that stood out that I hadn't heard from any coach," King recalled. "He said that, ‘everyone always says that you have a free ride.' He said, ‘it's not a free ride -- you work for it. You are going to have to continue to work for your scholarship.' That was the first time that I had heard something like that. Everybody else says that you've got a free ride… you've got a free scholarship to come play. He was like, ‘you earned it.' I liked that about (Rodriguez). That stood out with me."
To date the Tar Heel State star has not established a firm pecking order, but there are a few schools that currently have a leg up on the competition.
"The universities are that are at the top with me are Cal and UNC," he reported. "I have them in my 1a and 1b. Pretty much everything else is open after that. I'm just talking and learning more about the coaches and learn more about the schools before I can continue my run down from two to five."
Michigan is among those with a strong chance at making the cut, especially if King's visit plans are any indication.
"I wouldn't go to a school that I haven't visited," he stated. "I want to visit with the coaches. I want to see stability and a coaching staff is not going to up and leave -- then come my sophomore or junior year, no one that recruited me is at the school that I'm at. I want to make sure how that is. I want a prestigious school so when I get my degree in my field or whatever I major in, I can just get a job on that name alone. I want to start taking (visits) in the next couple of weeks so I can start to pick out, pinpoint, and go see which will be the best for me. This summer I'm really trying my hardest to get up to Michigan. I've been researching, and they're a good school. I would really love to get out to Michigan this summer. I'm talking to my parents about that and they're talking pretty good, so I'm happy."
King's more immediate plans have him going to South Carolina this weekend, and very likely to a few other schools within close proximity in the coming weeks. That said, he insists that the closeness of those programs doesn't give them a stated advantage in this race.
"Distance is not a factor for me," King said firmly. "I'm not trying to be selfish, but it is pretty much what I want. I worked for it and I'm not going to go somewhere close just because my parents want me to and I know that wouldn't be the best fit for me. If there is a college in France and they were playing big time D1 ball, that's where I would be if that was the best fit for me. "
The timeline for determining that fit could call for King to reach a decision sooner rather than later.
"I've been advised by some people that have gone through the process to commit before my senior season, but I don't know," he said. "I really want to go on some official visits so I can really dig deep down on the campus and universities. I don't want to make a mistake and go somewhere where the next four years of my life are going to be hell. I really haven't decided on that on what I want to do. I'm getting pulled in two different directions when it comes to my commit date."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on King in the weeks and months to come.