King heads to Virginia Tech

By Randy Lefko
Posted 12/26/18

OAKLEAF – Virginia Tech University had their entire coaching staff on hand when Oakleaf High running back Keshawn King arrived for his first official visit last summer.

“That’s what told me …

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King heads to Virginia Tech

Posted

OAKLEAF – Virginia Tech University had their entire coaching staff on hand when Oakleaf High running back Keshawn King arrived for his first official visit last summer.

“That’s what told me that they really wanted me,” said King. “When I first got there, all, each and every one of the coaching staff was there and each one had a conversation with me.”

King, the most prolific offensive ball carrier in Knights’ history and one of the top in the county with stats that match Clay High’s Bilal Ally from past seasons (4,510 Yards with 2,909 in a 13 game season in 2015), has blitzed area defenses with not only his speed, but his power once he got rolling.

“Keshawn is the first Division I signee for me as a head coach and he will always be special in my heart,” said Oakleaf High football head coach Frank Garis, who used King as his primary weapon to the tune of 2,017 yards and 30 touchdowns en route to a return to the region playoffs in his first year. “It’s the kind of kid he is. He grinds. It’s hard to put in words what he has done for this program.”

Garis, who had come from deep playoff runs for both Clay and Ponte Vedra high schools and had his share of four or five star athletes in front of him, noted that a move King made in the Knights’ preseason classic against 7A-Fletcher in August was the one that he knew he had something special.

“He did a stop jump cut against Fletcher where he outruns Jeremiah Payton (Fletcher defensive back) to the end zone,” said Garis. “Here was one of the fastest guys in north Florida and Keshawn kind of looked back and giggled at him. That kind of swagger with that kind of move was something I will always remember.”

King remembered his epic night against district foe Bartram Trail that ended in a five touchdown effort off 251 yards rushes on just 21 handoffs with Oakleaf outlasting the Bears 69-53 in a display of offensive firepower on both sides of the ball.

?King delivered the knockout blows for the game with two 50-yard scoring runs in the fourth quarter that pushed the Knights to the first-ever win over the Bears.

“That game was probably one of the biggest games of my career,” said King, also a 100 meters track sprinter for the Knights. “We had never beat them and they made us work that night to beat us. I gave everthing I could to make sure my team got the victory.”

King’s vision across to the defensive formation was one key that gave him opportunities when he appeared to be stopped at the line of scrimmage.

“Myself and my teammates don’t look at who is over there and which guy is their best guy,” said King. “My guys and me just take on the whole defense. We go after all 11 guys on the field.”

In front of King was a muscle-fest of blocking prowess led by 6’-6”, 350 pound offensive tackle Jalen Rivers, a junior with his own library of big college mailings, Seger McKisick and King Solomon.

“Those guys up front are all special; all five,” said King. “Our favorite play was our inside zone read play. Everyone expects us to go outside, but that play goes inside first then I can bounce and go.”

King cited a run against Creekside, a 55-34 win with 262 yards on just 19 carries with three touchdowns including a 60-yarder where he slipped behind the line of scrimmage, but recovered to outsprint the Creekside defense to paydirt as his favorite.

“You have to ask other people about the best run, I had a lot of good runs,” said King. “Against Creekside, I slipped out and almost fell, but spun and took it to the house. They all thought I was cornered behind the line of scrimmage.”

Against Lincoln, in the Knights’ region playoff opener, King sliced for 259 yards in a workhorse night of 42 carries. The Knights’ played into numerous overtimes before losing on an intercepted pass on third and three to goal.

“I wanted that ball there because my teammates wanted us to go deep in the playoffs,” said King.

King’s best all-time rushing effort was a 449 yard, four touchdown win, 38-35, over Creekside in 2017.

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