Kevin King is old enough now that he’s seen it all. Originally coming to Washington as a 6-foot-3, 170-pound pencil-necked safety prospect with a wicked wingspan and undeniable football IQ, King has molded himself into a 190-pound cornerback capable of shutting down slots or wideouts.
And as we’ve seen with players like Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner in the NFL, rangy cornerbacks are starting to become the norm, and for obvious reasons - they can match up well with bigger receivers, whether harassing them at the line of scrimmage or in jump-ball situations downfield. So if you're 6-foot-3 and has a history of being able to shut down receivers inside or outside, you're probably in good shape to cash in when the time comes to go pro.
King went from being a starting safety in 2014 to making a big switch to cornerback. Many of us wondered why a starting safety would be asked to make that move, but based on the way he played as a true junior we aren’t wondering anymore. When Marcus Peters was dismissed, an opening became available and King took full advantage.
With defenses going with more and more defensive backs to counteract spread offenses, King represents unique value. He brings a safety’s body to the cornerback position, able to play on an island or even nickel or dime when the Huskies start out games with extra defensive backs. Not many defensive backs can do that at King’s level of proficiency.
Even though his statistics went down from 65 in 2014 to 39 in 2015, he made plays last season that arguably made a bigger impact. His three interceptions were second on the team to Sidney Jones. And his tackles for loss - 4.5 - was tops among Washington defensive backs. It shows how important it is to have a bigger defensive back that can either blitz off the edge or beat blockers when put in one-on-one situations out wide.
King is uniquely capable of handling all those situations, and that’s where his true value lies. He also holds a lot of value within the defensive back room because he’s the only senior. The rest of the secondary will be looking to him for guidance and a steady hand during difficult times.
His experience, coupled with his versatility, makes Kevin King one of the most valuable players on the team.
His leadership and skill set will be missed the day he graduates.