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May 15, 2012
King ready to roll onto Rocky Top
Justin King will bid Dunwoody High School a final farewell a week from Thursday when he graduates and heads to Knoxville the last week of May. But for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker, his mind and focus has been on his arrival on Rocky Top since he signed back in February.Tennessee signee
"I really didn't sit back and relax after I signed," King said. "When I committed to Tennessee, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who hadn't left for Washington yet, told me college football was a business and that I needed to be ready. I know coach (Sal) Sunseri is all about business, too, so I've just been working out, studying my DVD and trying to be ready for summer workouts."
The reality for King, who never visited any other schools despite the coaching changes, is that being driven and focused on a task is nothing new to him. In fact, it's who King is.
"I like to think that I'm a funny guy and a guy who has a good time," King said. "But I'm a guy who tries to set the example and I try to surround myself with great people. I'm not into partying and all that stuff. My dad tells me how you are now is how you will raise your family. I have goals in place. My focal point is on the next 4 to 5 years because it will be who I am as a person years from now.
"I'm like everyone in that I want to play in the NFL, but that league is the Not For Long League even if you make it. That's why school is important to me and why I'm planning on majoring in special education, because I want to help kids when I'm done with football."
Before King is done with football, he's working to get his career started off on the right track. King has been working out with several SEC guys including former Georgia linebacker Justin Houston. Mentally, King has found Tennessee's new defensive scheme to his liking.
"We actually ran the 3-4 in high school," King said. "It's not as complicated as what coach Sunseri is doing and the names of all the coverages and blitzes are different, but on the DVD and when I was up there for the spring game a lot of what they are doing on defense looks familiar to me because of what we played in high school."
Getting to know King:
Who's the biggest influence in your life?
"My dad and my brothers. They keep me humbled and they keep me focused. I don't always like or want to hear it, but I need it to help me stay focused. I'm the middle brother, which can be hard sometimes, but I like to think it has made me tougher."
If you could visit with three people who would it be?
"Well now being a Vol For Life, you gotta go with Peyton Manning. I would like to get some tips from Clay Matthews since he's an outside linebacker and I would like to visit with Eric Thomas. Most people don't know him, but he's a motivational speaker and I listen to him everyday. I would love to visit with him."
Pre-game routines or rituals?
"I have to wear 2 pair of socks. But I had 394 yards and 5 touchdowns in a game last year after I ate jelly beans before the game, so I might keep that going. They might have to start calling me Jelly Bean King."
Most memorable social media experience with recruiting.
"It wasn't on Twitter; it was on Facebook. I got a message from an Arkansas coach that had the video attached of Joe Adams' punt return against Tennessee and the coach just wrote 'Are you sure you don't want to take a visit here?'. I just kind of laughed at it and brushed it off. It made me work harder."
Any good Derek Dooley stories?
"Coach Dooley is just a funny guy. He's always joking with you and you better be ready because you never know what he's going to say to you. When he came to the house for his in home visit, my mom had made a pan of brownies. She gave him a couple when he first got there and he ate them up. She asked him if he wanted any more and he said no trying to play it cool. Then when he got up to leave he was like, 'Can I have a few more brownies?'. It was just funny how he said it. I think he ate about half the pan."