December 4, 2007

King ready for next level

WAYCROSS - With tears in his eyes, Tavarres King lamented the fact that his prep football career had just come to an end.

"I didn't think it would come this fast," said King, moments after his Habersham Central Raiders fell to Ware County, 30-0 in the state quarterfinals.

The beloved Raider figure spoke glowingly of the fans that traveled some six-plus hours to cheer him and his teammates on.

"These are great people all-around and I love them to death," said King. "It's awesome to see over 500 people travel more than 300 miles to see you play."

Next season, King will vie for the chance to play in front of more than 92,000 fans on a regular basis.

King, who has verbally committed to play for Georgia next season, caught eight passes in his high school finale, leaving him one short of the century mark for grabs in a season, with 99.

Though he established a new GHSA single-season mark with 1,632 receiving yards this season, King would gladly trade the record for a chance to play just one more game in a Raiders uniform.

"We don't look at stats," said King. "I would rather have a 'W' where I catch zero balls and block all night."

King did, in fact, have a stellar statistical night, with 124 all-purpose yards, including 17 yards rushing and 46 yards on punt and kickoff returns. He also punted four times for a 34.3 yard average, including a long of 45.

King's performance, though, was the lone bright spot for Habersham Central, which was denied a chance to play in the state semi-finals for the second straight year. However, King knows there will be other opportunities for him to get to the Georgia Dome.

"For some people, it's really over. But for me, it's just beginning," he said.

King, a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, is one of two coveted receivers already on Georgia's commitment list for 2008. In Athens, he'll join five-star talent A.J. Green in bolstering a receiving corps that loses starting split end and leading receiver Sean Bailey, as well as flanker Mikey Henderson.

Bailey and Henderson accounted for nearly one fourth of the Bulldogs' catches this past season, leaving rising senior Mohamed Massaquoi as the Bulldogs' top returning receiver. Massaquoi's junior campaign saw the split end average 16.2 yards per catch during the regular season. By comparison, King logged a 16.4 average as a high school senior.

In addition to Massaquoi, the Bulldogs welcome back a bevy of lettermen in the receiving corps, including Kris Durham, Demiko Goodman, Kenneth Harris, Tony Wilson, and Michael Moore.

Faced with the prospect of breaking into the ranks of such an experienced group, King knows he'll have to start preparing for the task soon.

"I'm going to give myself a week," King said. "After this, I think I'll take a week off. Then I'll start working out twice a day, just like in the off-season."


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