Mountaineer Proud

In a few simple sentences, senior defensive back Brian King summed up his time at West Virginia University.

Before we get to that, however, let it be known that I'm a Brian King fan. Never the tallest or the biggest or the fastest, Brian simply got the job done, no matter where he played.

Sure, he got burned on occasion. What cornerback doesn't? But he always bounced back to make the next play. He was unfairly blamed for giving up completions by fans who can't distinguish different coverages, but never complained.

As a senior, he was shuffled and moved to safety. And although that position didn't necessarily suit his talents the best, he became the linchpin of the secondary. He executed WVU's defensive strategy to perfection (don't give up the long pass, make crisp tackles to minimize gains), and was a big reason for West Virginia's late season surge. King moved to safety for WVU's game against Miami. Was it a conincidence that the Mountaineers played like gangbusters that night, and then ripped off a seven game winning streak? I certainly don't think so.

On a team where players like Grant Wiley, Quincy Wilson and Rasheed Marshall garnered the brightest lights , King was a bit overlooked. Not that those players didn't deserve the attention, or that King was ignored. I just never thought that he got the credit he deserved for his play on the field.

A few seasons ago, cornerback Aaron Beasley set the career pass break up record with 39. King has obliterated that mark, as he now possesses 54. And it's not like teams throw only at the Damascus, Md., native. Cornerback Lance Frazier, paired with King for much of their careers, is second with 40. King also now holds the single season record for breakups, with 21.

Pretty good career, wouldn't you say? Yet, for some reason, it seems to remain in the shadows.

As I admitted earlier, I'm a BK fan. I met Brian shortly after he committed to the Mountaineers, and since that time I've gotten to know his family as well. Like most Mountaineer parents, they are down to earth people that cheer for their sons, worry about their health, and support the program through thick and thin.

Getting to know parents and family members obviously has an effect on my objectivity, but what the heck. I'm a Mountaineer fan, first and foremost. So I'll use this forum for my own purposes on occasion, and on this one it's to make sure everyone recognizes what King has achieved at WVU.

Unfortunately, I don't think a lot of people will realize that until after he is gone. The heady plays, the crucial, crunch time interceptions and pass break ups, the big hits. There have been a lot of them when number 11 is on the field. And we only have one more chance to see him in a Mountaineer uniform.

Which brings us back to King's statement. After the Temple game, the senior noted that he never expected to finish his career with school records, and then summed up his experience at WVU with a few eloquent words.

"I've been very fortunate to have played for four years," King said of his career. "I was telling Pac Man to let me hold the record for a couple of years, because he's going to have his day in the sun. I've been very blessed to come to a school like this. This was the best place I could have ever come to play football. It's really been a remarkable experience. No matter what I do in the future, whether I have the chance to play football or not, these have been the best five years of my life."

Thanks, Brian. They've been some memorable ones for us as well.


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