There’s nothing that can prepare a teenager for the pressures of playing quarterback in the college game but playoff football is probably the closest thing.
It’s a prep pressure cooker in a win or go home scenario. In Austin King’s case it’s win or pack it up for good. He’s a senior and these are his last games with his Alpharetta teammates. They did well for themselves in the regular season, losing just once in ten outings. But the second season brings added pressure, increased competition and all sorts of variables that you can never predict.
Alpharetta’s only loss came in the first game of the year. That seemed to set a bad tone for the season but the team responded to it well, using it as a spring board for bigger and better things and an opportunity to improve after seeing their flaws on full display. A little soul searching and some tweaks led to win after win. It didn’t hurt that they had an ACC bound quarterback in King.
King isn’t sure of his stats this year. He lost track about midway through the season. He didn’t pass for as many yards or as many touchdowns as he did last year. That was partially due to the fact that he left several games early as the score was being run up. They also had a strong running game in the regular season. Still, King said he felt that he made strides in 2014.
“I thought I got better with my read progressions, especially knowing when something’s not there just not trying to force anything. I got better at dropping it down to my check down.”
Quincy Avery might have a little something to do with King’s improvement. The Elite 11 quarterback coach has been a private mentor for King. They meet once a week during the year and two or three times a week in the off season. He’s helped King with the mental part of the game and in terms of his mechanics. Their relationship has developed more recently.
King won’t be enrolling early at NC State so even after his season is over at Alpharetta he will have a little time back home before going off to college in Raleigh. He has been to several Wolfpack home games this year and is good friends with all of the commitments already.
“I think it’s a rebuilding year for them. They’re a young team. It’s a young defense. The offense has played well at times. Quarterback wise I thought Jacoby’s been playing pretty well. He’s been making plays. I’m really not focusing on how the team’s doing. I’m just seeing how the quarterback plays and how Coach Canada handles that kind of stuff. I believe in Coach Doeren and the system he has. I believe in the guys we have coming in. I know they’re not doing so well right now, but I’ve seen some glimpses.”
King is rated a three-star prospect and the No. 71 quarterback in the nation by Scout.com.