King looks for breakout season


Wide receiver La’Rod King runs out of the helmet before the UK football game against Tennessee at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. Photo by Adam Wolffbrandt

For a wide receiver, one year can make all the difference in the world. In the world of La’Rod King, that could be especially true.

King, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver from Radcliff, Ky., played quarterback in his high school days before switching positions for the Cats as a true freshman last season. In 2010, King will be looking to step up his role with the unit, and for the unit as a whole to take a step forward.

“I had to learn everything from scratch, that was pretty tough,” King said. “That’s what kept me so long from playing. I had to learn to come off my break, come off my starts, get my route running correct, all that.”

It wasn’t until the fifth game of the season that King registered his first catch, but he then collected all 10 of his receptions on the season in a five-game stretch. King’s last catch, a one-handed reception over the middle against Georgia went for 21 yards and a touchdown and pulled the Cats within one possession on the road against the Bulldogs. UK went on to win that game 34-27.

At times King said he grew frustrated last season with everything coming at him at once at a position he was unaccustomed to and expected to be redshirted before he gained on-field experience.

After finally getting on the field and now experiencing his first spring season, UK wide receivers coach Tee Martin said King is coming on.

“He’s a physical kid that had never played receiver before until last year,” Martin said. “Now we’re working on the fundamental parts of it. … We want to make him a true wide receiver so he moves like a wideout, catches like a wideout, and really sees himself as a big part of what we do.”

UK head coach Joker Phillips said what they’re trying to do this year is try to throw the ball more and utilize the big bodies they have at receiver, including King.

“Our emphasis is throwing the football,” Phillips said. “We’ve started this spring saying that, and we’re going to take it to the field.”

King said people should expect the receivers to be on point and focused this season and to be ready for big plays.

“That’s what we’re here to do,” King said. “We’re in a Division I school, we play in the (Southeastern Conference), the best conference in the nation, you have to perform. If you don’t perform then there’s no point in you being here. So, it’s either make plays or go home.”

Through the learning curve King said he never got down on himself, and fellow wideouts Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews helped him out. King said the receiving corps has good chemistry together.

“This is our year to prove ourselves, we’re tired of being overlooked,” King said. “This is our time.”