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Knoch's King decides to play at W&J

| Saturday, April 26, 2014, 4:15 p.m.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley
Knoch athletic director and head football coach Mike King and his son Kraig share in conversation on the bleachers at Knoch High School in August. Kraig King will play college football at Washington & Jefferson, where his father once coached.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley
Knoch athletic director and head football coach Mike King and his son, Kraig, at Knoch High School on Friday, August 16, 2013.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's Kraig King at Knoch High School on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013.

Senior Kraig King's days of protecting his quarterback's blindside at Knoch are over. His days of getting in the familiar three-point stance and digging his hand in the dirt at the college level will begin in the fall, when the lineman starts his playing career at Division III Washington & Jefferson College.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pound King made his commitment on April 18.

A torn medial collateral ligament cost King the last two games of his high school career, but attending Washington & Jefferson means more to him than just playing football. His father, Knoch head football coach and athletic director Mike King, was a coach at Washington & Jefferson before he began coaching at Knoch.

“He was a great role model during this because he helped me, but he didn't influence me one way or another,” King said about his father. “He helped me out and asked what I liked and didn't like. I felt honored there and when we took my visit there, he knew all the guys down there.”

King also plans on honoring his high school role model, former Knoch standout running back, the late Tim McNerney, who attended W&J before his death in October 2012.

“It's going be an honor because Tim was there,” Kraig King said. “I always looked up to him. He was an amazing athlete coming out of Knoch. He took everything he had to W&J, and he loved it. I'm looking to do the same.”

King will be the long snapper and may make the transition to playing center, a position of need for the Presidents. Because of his MCL tear, he missed his senior night against Highlands, which he called a disappointment. The injury inspired him to make a full and speedy recovery as he was getting recruited by W&J, all the while displaying patience in his rehab.

Mike King couldn't be happier for his son, who, in his eyes, has earned everything he's achieved so far in his career.

“It's a pretty good feeling,” Mike King said. “You work with a lot of kids, and you give your time to a lot of kids, then when your own comes around, you hope you can give the same effort that you did to other kids. He gave a lot to Knoch football. I'm happy he's going there and playing in a great program.”

Several other Division III schools were recruiting King, including Thiel, Marietta, Waynesburg and Westminster. All it took for King to get hooked at W&J was one visit.

“It was the first college I talked to,” he said. “Coach (Todd) Young was a nice guy and I really liked him. I took my overnight stay a couple of weeks ago and loved it. The team is awesome, and they win games. I like to do that.”

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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