LeRon King

LeRon King would tackle a circle saw last year as a true freshman. The only problem he had was a thin frame - sometimes he just didn't have enough mass to get the job done. He's gone a long way in rectifying his "light in the seat" quandry. Read about it inside.

Time after time in practices last year, Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron would express visible, animated excitement over true freshman LeRon King's play.

Using his speed, guile and a strong desire to get the job done, the 194-pound defensive end would come around the corner of the Reb OL and sack a Reb quarterback in practice. At times, he was disruptive.

But in Orgeron's 4-3 scheme, there was no way he could get away, too many times, with putting a 194-pound DE in the lineup, so the coaching staff opted to redshirt King. They even experimented with him at linebacker some.

Now, a year into his Ole Miss career, LeRon has solved some of the puzzle - he's put on 25 pounds of quality weight and now tips the scales at 220 pounds. That's not an ideal weight for a DE in Orgeron's system, not by a long shot, but it's a lot better than 194.

"I made some plays last year from being fast and from desire, but I knew I had to gain some weight to make an impact because I got blocked a lot too," said King, a native of Miami, FL. "If I was going to play on this level, and really compete, I couldn't be a guy who made a big play every once in a while and I couldn't be consistent unless I put on some good weight. I was just too thin."

25 additional pounds later, you feel like you are talking to a more confident football player.

"I haven't had on pads since spring, but I can't wait to get them on and see what this extra weight will mean for me. I'm confident my movement is still good and I know I'll be able to be more physical and dish out more punishment with the added weight and strength I have gained," King stated. "I have always been a physical player, for my size. Now I'm shooting on being a physical player and size not being a detriment or an issue."

But where does King think he'll end up - LEO or LB? Guess what? It doesn't matter to him at all.

"I don't have a burning desire to play any particular position. I'm all about playing wherever the coaches want me. I'll try anything," he explained. "My strength at LEO is that I'm quick off the edge. It's hard for an offensive tackle to get back in a pass pro set before I'm by him. I have shown a knack for getting to the QB in a hurry, but I haven't been able to hold up against the run.

"At linebacker, I think I have potential, but it's still a new position for me. You don't have to do a whole lot of thinking at LEO. It's a different story at LB. You have to think on the run and you have to be in the right place at the right time in every situation. I had never played LB before, not even in junior high, so this is totally new for me, but I think I'm starting to understand it. LB may be my best position becuase at 220, I'm big enough to play the pass and the run. At LEO, I still may be a little light to defend the run and take on OL."

LeRon quickly built a reputation as a player who didn't mind sticking his nose in the action, even if he got knocked around a little sometimes.

"I enjoy the contact part of football. I bet I'll enjoy it even more at 220 pounds. The way I look at it, I want to deliver the hit rather than receive it," he continued. "Being the guy doing the hitting is a lot more fun than being the one getting hit, so I make sure I'm first to deliver the blow as often as possible."

LeRon said his 40 time was "around 4.7" when the Rebs tested in July, which is not extremely fast for a LB, but he doesn't let that bother him too much.

"Speed is not an issue with me. I'm not a guy who times well in a 40-yard dash. It's not my thing. I have good football speed, not good track speed. I'm much fster when I'm chasing down a ballcarrier than I am racing for a finish line," he noted.

King has high expectations for the Rebel defense in 2006 and he hopes he can be a viable part of it.

"I want to help the team in any way I can - on defense, special teams, it doesn't matter," he ended. "I feel something special being built here. Our team chemistry has come together now and we have a tighter bond. All of that is exciting to me. We are more of a team now and that's what it's all about."

LeRon King wasn't shy last year at 194 pounds. He might be a beast at 220.

Stay tuned.

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