PA's top junior starts with list of four

The consensus top junior in PA already has ten offers, and many more will be coming soon. PA's top junior starts with list of four.

RB/CB Justin King of Monroeville (Gateway) is a 6'0" 180 pound speed burner, timed as fast as 4.24 in the 40 at Ohio State's camp last year.

However, do not get the idea that he is just an athlete playing basketball. King also benches 315 pounds with his wiry, strong frame.

King's junior year was magical, as he was widely known as the most explosive player in the state. He rushed for 1,763 yards on 214 carries for an 8.2 average and had a whopping 29 TD's.

On defense, King was rarely thrown at, but still managed 28 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. So where does King prefer to play?

"Cornerback," states King in a soft voice that contradicts his strength and explosiveness on the field.

He only gets better. When talking about him, Gateway head coach and stepfather, Terry Smith, is clearly even more proud of him off the field than on.

"He really is a great kid. Very humble. He broke his ankle as a freshman and it showed him what it was like to be without football," says Smith.

The 10 offers so far are from Wisconsin, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College, West Virginia, Iowa, and Notre Dame. And who are the four lucky finalists?

"Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan," according to King. And when asked if there was anybody on a level below that, he stated, "no, not really."

"Michigan has come on strong," says Smith. "The first day they were allowed to come here, Lloyd Carr came, and then somebody from there came every weekend that they were allowed for six or seven weeks. Then when Penn State saw that they started doing the same thing."

Asked what his feelings were about Pitt, King responded, "I like them a lot, but I don't know much about them." Smith says Walt Harris visited once recently.

King, also the owner of a 3.0 GPA, says he will camp at all four of his favorites, plus the Nike Camp at Penn State.

Smith, as classy and as soft-spoken as his stepson, played wide receiver for Joe Paterno and Penn State but says that is not a factor.

"It's all his decision. It is where Justin wants to go. I will just be here to sift through what is being said from the coaches and help him figure out who means what they say and who is just trying to get him to sign."

Both Smith and King are also well aware of what it means to be so coveted. They watched as fellow Pittsburgh area stars Anthony Morelli and Andrew Johnson take heat for reneging on early verbal commitments and the fan pandemonium that surrounded it.

"I know it's coming," says Smith. "But Justin is a very humble kid and he will handle it well."

King also has learned from others and the evidence is apparent when asked about when he will decide.

"I will probably decide early, but I will keep it to myself until the end of the year."

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