TAMPA – Despite only playing football as a team sport for the first time two years ago, Alonso cornerback DJ King fell in love with the game right away. The rising senior is penciled in as one of the starters outside for the Ravens this season.
King suited up for the junior varsity team as a sophomore before making the transition to varsity a season ago. He played half the year as a starter and says he became interested in football because of his cousin, Ricky Meadows (Class of 2018 Sickles graduate) and godfather Garnell Wilds, who suited up for two seasons (2004-05) in the NFL after playing college at Virginia Tech and high school at Hillsborough in Tampa.
He’s fallen in the love with the game already and certainly has a ton of confidence despite being inexperienced.
“My confidence level is as high as it can be,” King said. “I know when it comes down to it I can make the plays that I have to.”
At 5’9″, 165 lbs, King also lines up as a slot receiver for Alonso where he can create a mismatch simply with his speed off the snap. He expects to see a major role as a wideout on top of his duties as a cornerback. A baseball player for his entire life, King says it has helped with his hand-eye coordination out of the football field.
“I learned the different techiniques I needed to use to play defensive back,” he said about his junior season. “I learned how to slow it down in my mind so I can react to different things.”
Currently King is working on improving his speed, agility and footwork. He wants to become more aware of the different techniques and coverages when he’s on defense and where to line up whether it be inside or outside on offense.
King has only been with head coach Brian Emanuel for one season, but he calls him the best coach he’s had in his life. Emanuel is entering his sixth year as the head coach as he served as an offensive coordinator previously at Alonso.
“I’ve grown with him and I know that he trusts me to make plays. I have a great relationship with him.”
Despite a 4-6 record in 2015, King says everyone is buying into the program this spring and paying close attention to what the coaches have to say.
“It’s more of a family and not one person trying to do it all. It’s all of us collectively to do it all.”
Rising seniors DE/FB Obie Cruz, WR/S Chris Anderson, DL Cole Watts, DB Cyle Watts, RB/S Malik Ford and ATH Jaylen Striker (Class of 2018 graduate) are all players King says people should keep an eye out for this upcoming season.
As he continues to gain more experience, King is looking to improve his footwork and become better at predicting plays defensively and being aware of the yard markers.
When he sees the ball in the air as a cornerback he believes that he can make the play on it no matter what. On the opposite end of things, he feels he can get as many yards as he can when he touches the ball as a receiver.
He calls his mom and godfather his two biggest role models.
“My mom is a really hard worker. I want to be like her. She always pushes herself to be the mom she can be and I want to push myself to be the best person I can be. I really appreciate that and owe it all to her.”
King says if the NFL doesn’t work out for him that his ultimate goal is to open up his own shoe company in the format of a Finish Line. For what it’s worth, his favorite shoe brand is Jordan.
Regardless of where King winds up beyond the 2016 season, he is in for a good year and Alonso is in better hands with his speed and quickness on both sides of the ball. A very smart and down to earth kid, King has his head on straight and should only get better as a football player with more teaching and game experience.
Favorite players – Vernon Hargreaves, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson
Playlist before games – Meek Mill and Drake
Favorite movie – Captain America
Favorite TV show – The Walking Dead
Fun fact that nobody knows – “Maybe, I’d like to be a movie producer one day.”
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at email@example.com.