February 16, 2011

Opportunity at hand for King

Finally, wide receiver Tavarres King has his opportunity to shine.

That's certainly what Georgia offensive coaches are counting on. With A.J. Green having moved on to the NFL, the Bulldogs will be looking for that "go-to" player to take over the lead role in the receiving corps.

Come spring, King figures to be on the spot.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," King said. "I think I'm ready."

Time will tell.

As UGASports continues its pre-spring position breakdown, we take a look at receiver where there appears to be plenty of chances ahead for players willing to grab the opportunity.

In his first two years, King has slowly been making steady strides.

After catching 18 balls for 377 yards as a redshirt freshman, King made 23 grabs for 471 yards and three touchdowns in regular-season play for the Bulldogs last fall.

Green believes King has the ability to play a bigger role.

"T.K. can step up, no question," said Green, who roomed with King last year for road games. "He can definitely be one of our leaders and I know he will step up ."

King believes that he will.

"I'm still growing," King said. "Last year was my first full season and even though I made a couple of plays, I also left a lot of plays on the field. This year, I've tried to eliminate the bad plays and dropped passes, things like that. I've felt I've done a decent job but it's still a learning process. I'm looking forward to seeing how I can continue to grow next year."

The Bulldogs will certainly be depending on King more than ever before.

With second-leading receiver Kris Durham having graduated and Logan Gray's decision to transfer, King, Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten, Israel Troupe and two-way performer Branden Smith will be the only receivers to have actually caught a pass collegiately, although freshman Michael Bennett wowed teammates with his scout-team work for most of the year.

"He's been making plays since he got here," King said of Bennett. "He's an athlete, a very, very good athlete. He kind of reminds me of Kris (Durham), another White Lightning because of the way he goes to get the ball. He's definitely a guy I can see making plays next year."

The Bulldogs will receive an influx of freshman talent, beginning with early enrollee Chris Conley who will get a quick opportunity this spring to show just what he can do.

Come August, he will be joined by Sanford Seay, Justin Scott-Wesley, Devin Bowman and Malcom Mitchell, who despite being the nation's top-ranked cornerback, was also an outstanding receiver at Valdosta High and is expected to get his first snaps on the offensive side.

However, depending on true freshmen to make an immediate impact can be a ticklish situation for sure.

Just ask King, who conceded confidence remained somewhat of a problem until this year.

"In college, confidence is everything. In high school, you have that swagger from Day One," he said. "But in college, you have to get that back and the only way to make that happen is to go out and make plays."

King said his confidence actually began to grow during practice and not in an actual game.

"It was all about going out and making plays on the ball and in scrimmages, taking hits and just being tough about it," King said. "Once you start doing it in practice, you can just carry it over to the field which was fun."

Now, it's a matter of perfecting the lessons he's learned.

"You've got to be real consistent in this offense," King said. "At this position, it's all about being precise and that's what I've got to do to try and become a more consistent player."

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