November 15, 2012

King rising up the charts

Quick, name the top Georgia receivers in regards to career receiving yardage?

Following Saturday's game against Georgia Southern (1:30, WSB), there's an excellent chance that senior Tavarres King will be part of that select group.

With 2,276 yards, King is only five behind former mentor and good friend Mohamed Massaquoi with 2,282 and just 97 behind Brice Hunter (2,373) for fourth.

"That's crazy. I never even thought about it. I just saw it on Twitter," King said. "It's neat to be up there with some of the greats that have been through here, A.J (Green), Terrence Edwards, Brice Hunter … it's neat to be up there with those guys because those were some pretty good wideouts. I'm just following their lead."

Receiving yards isn't the only career chart King has quietly been able to climb.

His 18 career touchdowns already places him fifth behind Hunter (19) and two behind Fred Gibson (20). Terrence Edwards holds the Georgia career mark for TD catches with 30.

King's 123 career catches are 35 behind Massaquoi for fifth on the Bulldogs' list for career receptions.

"We love TK and what he's been doing on the field and off the field. It's just the type of person he is and the type of leader that he's been," head coach Mark Richt said. "We think the world of TK, and I'm very confident that he'll end up getting drafted and have a good pro career."

He's certainly been the Bulldogs' Mr. Steady.

With 30 catches for 624 yards, King is well on his way to surpassing the 705 yards he posted as a junior, despite the fact he's still 17 catches away from the 47 he posted a season ago.

With Marlon Brown and Michael Bennett out for the year with torn ACLs, he may still get the chance to surpass those totals, too.

But padding his own stats is the last thing on King's mind.

"It's been very unfortunate what happened to Michael and Marlon, they didn't do anything different than what I do. It's just been very unfortunate, but I've been able to stay healthy, continue to progress and show the young guys the ropes," King said. "They've had to grow up here the last four or five weeks - (Chris) Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley - to help fill the void that was left by Marlon."

Massaquoi would no doubt be proud.

As a freshman, it was Massaquoi who took King under his wing and remains King's friend and mentor today.

"We talk all the time," King said. "He still calls me Junior, he's always looking in on me, checking in on me and I do the same with him because we care about each other so much."

Massaquoi isn't the only one."I talked to Mo and A.J. (Monday), I talked to Mike Moore still, Kris Durham; it's all family around here. When you're in, you're in," King said. "We talk all the time. I check on them after their games, I sent A.J. a text - 'All Hail Green.' He's the man. It's awesome to have those guys around me and know that we support each other like we do."

King has certainly been giving his former teammates a lot to be proud of and he's capable of making big plays.

Take Georgia's 38-0 win at Auburn when King made one of the year's more impressive catches when caught a 17-yard pass from Aaron Murray, somehow getting his left foot down before falling out of bounds.

How did he do it?

"I don't know. Honestly, I knew the left one got in but I was trying to make a statement with the right one to the NFL," King said. "I was trying to show that I could get two down, it didn't, but the left one got in."

Richt wasn't surprised.

"Tavarres has been very crucial, and we've counted on him," Richt said. "That flanker position, we count on that guy to make some big plays for us and he has. We expect him to be able to get deep, we expect him to be able to stretch the defense, and he's just done a very good job of that. I'm proud of him."