Signee profile: Greg King

One Tennessee football signee was hurting when he left the Orange & White Game, and he didn't even play in it.

That would be Memphis linebacker Greg King, who literally got to experience the fanaticism of The Vol Nation first-hand.

"I signed about a thousand autographs at the spring game. My hand was cramping up," King said by phone from his Memphis home. "It made me feel kind of good, though."

It should. Even when you're a King, it's nice being treated like royalty by the people who pay for your scholarship. And, as the new recruit readily admits: "I've been getting a whole lot of love from Tennessee fans since I signed in February."

He's also been getting a whole lot of work in hopes of being ready to contribute immediately.

"I've been working with a personal trainer to get in shape," he said. "My trainer has been getting me ready. I do all kinds of work – upper body, lower body, running and drills."

Like most of Tennessee's signees, King has added a few pounds of muscle on the workout program Vol coaches sent him.

"I weighed 200 when I signed, and I'm about 210 now," he said.

Asked if he has gotten any faster since signing in February, King deadpanned, "I haven't had my speed tested but I ain't gotten no slower."

The 6-foot-3 King is likely to add more weight as he matures physically. He'll need it to withstand the rigors of the Southeastern Conference.

"I'll probably play the Will (weak side) or Sam (strong side) linebacker," King said. "I'm not big enough right now for Mike (middle)."

That's fine, though. He prefers operating in open space, where he can fully exploit his exceptional speed.

"I like Will and Sam because they give you the opportunity to roam the whole field," he said. "At Mike you're kind of boxed in."

Even so, he says Tennessee's coaches suggest he might get a look in the middle when preseason drills open in August.

"They told me to be ready to play Will and Mike but I'm looking at all three," King said. "You never know when there might be an injury and you need to move around to help out."

An exceptional athlete, King was a jumper for Melrose High's track team as a junior. He decided to focus all of his energy on preparing for football this spring, however.

"I used to do the long jump and high jump," he recalled. "I could've done the relays or the 400 this spring but it would've taken time away from my workouts."

King has taken the ACT and recently sent his high school transcript to the NCAA Clearinghouse. He assumes he'll be approved in time to enroll at UT for the first session of summer school on June 1.

Minus starting linebackers Ellix Wilson and Nevin McKenzie from 2008, Tennessee's coaches are expected to give King a long look in preseason. He thinks they'll like what they see.

"I bring excitement," he said. "The momentum of the game changes when I'm in there. There's no waiting; I come out strong."

The young man does not lack for confidence.

"My goal is to try to make Freshman All-American," he said. "It'll take hard work, like I've been putting in, and dedication. I just need to be dedicated to what I want, then go on and do it."

Certainly, recruiting expert Andrew Bone believes King has all of the physical components to be a quality Tennessee linebacker.

"Greg King has a lot of speed and moves well from sideline-to-sideline," Bone says. "He is a big-time hitter, but needs to work on the fundamentals of the game. He has all the tools, and a tremendous upside. A little coaching will go a long way into developing King into a force in the SEC."

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