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December 7, 2011

Interest picking up for Knox-area star kicker

Initially, the attention was a bit slow for Knoxville-area kicker Jonathan King when he first shipped out highlight clips from his work on the Farragut Admirals' football team.

But, as coaches like to say, the film don't lie. And what King's film shows is an accurate kicker with a prodigious leg; the 6-foot junior has hit five field goals of 50-plus yards in his two seasons as the Admirals' starting kicker.

All this from an athlete who began his football career as a quarterback.

"I've generally played quarterback for the majority of my life in football; I started football in fifth grade and was a quarterback," said the articulate King, a yes-sir, no-sir type. "I messed around, grabbed a ball and kicked, would put it on a tee and kick. Then my freshman year at Farragut, we didn't really have another backup kicker. Christian Ponce was a senior, and they asked me to kick. I started working with our kicking coach, Gerald Robinson, and it all kind of went from there."

Where it might go for King is hard to tell at this point, but the interest from college around the South and Midwest is rapidly increasing. King said he's heard the most from Tennessee and Missouri, but he's getting mail from about 10 different schools. Georgia Tech sent information to King this week.

Of course, King now has two seasons of evidence. And what those show are a kicker who has hit from as far out as 53 yards and who has converted 55 of 56 extra points in his two varsity seasons. King has made 21 of 33 field goals, including four of five this season from 50-plus yards.

Further, King has sent 79 kickoffs for touchbacks and dropped 29 punts inside opponents' 20-yard lines.

"I'm going to have to give all the credit to coach Robinson," said King, noting the Knoxville-area kicking specialist who also worked last year with All-State Maryville kicker Zach Sharp, among others. "He's an outstanding coach and a big part of my success at Farragut so far. He teaches good technique and has a good eye for what you're doing wrong and can explain it well."

Though his season ended roughly a month ago, King has maintained a busy workout regimen with his Farragut teammates, as well as Knoxville-area kickers on Thursdays of each week.

"The offseason is pretty busy for us. We're working out three days a week, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays," King said. "On Thursdays I work with coach Robinson and we work on kicking, long-snapping, holding, we get field work done. We do that for two hours or so and then we go to the weight room and work out from there."

King, who just returned from a kicking camp last weekend in the Atlanta suburb of Flowery Branch, Ga., has a much larger venue on his horizon next month. He's been invited to the prestigious Chris Sailer 10th anniversary national kicking camp in Las Vegas in mid-January. It will be at that camp that King has the opportunity to compete for a spot in the top 12 of the Class of 2013 kicking prospects.

It's a long way from where the journey began for King, when he wasn't initially sure about giving up his dream of being a quarterback.

"It's definitely two different things. I kind of had some mixed feelings about kind of stepping out of the quarterback position, but I felt like that's where my best opportunity to play college football would be," King said. "When you're at quarterback, you're getting pumped up and getting your team pumped up. It's kind of an adrenaline thing. Kicking is more of like a business mentality. You have to be more focused, more calm and do whatever you can to help the team as best as you can."


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