Isaiah King had to wait an extra year, and make a detour along the way, to begin his college football career.
Now that’s out of the way, and the former Mount Airy High star is making a name for himself at the Division I FCS level.
King, who originally turned down offers from smaller schools out of high school in order to be a preferred walk-on at East Carolina, changed his mind and decided to head down the road to Campbell.
It didn’t take the 6’2”, 275-pound lineman long to break into the Fighting Camels’ starting lineup, even though Campbell had one of the best returning groups of defensive linemen in the Pioneer Football League. King, who helped the Granite Bears capture four conference titles and 39 wins between 2010 and 2013, was a top reserve in his first college game, a 41-20 victory over Pikeville College on Sept. 3.
King had three tackles and a sack in that contest, and earned a spot in the starting lineup the next week. Going into last night’s game against Drake, King had been a starter for three consecutive games on a defense that ranks fifth overall in Division I FCS, allowing just 266.3 yards per game.
“He’s been very good on the defensive line for us,” said CU Director of Athletic Communications Jason Williams. “His best game was probably at Presbyterian.”
The Camels lost that game 23-13, but don’t blame King or his defensive cohorts, who valiantly held down the fort while the Campbell offense was losing the turnover battle 3-0, getting beaten in time of possession by seven minutes, and picking up just a dozen first downs. King had five tackles in the contest.
At Mount Airy, King was named to several all-state teams following his senior year, when the Bears went 9-4 and advanced to the second round of the 1-A state playoffs. In 2011 and 2012, the son of Stephanie Washington was named to the all-region team.
“Campbell is a good place for Isaiah,” said MAHS head coach Kelly Holder. “He’s really done well there. We’re very proud of him and what he’s accomplished.”
The King family’s legacy lives on in Bear country, where two of Isaiah’s four siblings are currently suiting up for the team. Ezekiel is a senior two-way guard, and Gabriel, a junior, plays defensive end and offensive guard.
For fans of the Camels, the best news of all is that Isaiah King didn’t appear in any games for ECU last fall. Under NCAA rules, he is therefore considered a redshirt freshman and will be eligible to play through the 2018 season.
Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.