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January 13, 2008

King going pro

Penn State junior cornerback Justin King has decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft.

Having already graduated from Penn State in December, King had accomplished quite a lot in his time as a Nittany Lion. Most recently, King completed his third and final football season as a Nittany Lion on Dec. 29, against Texas A&M in a 24-17 Alamo Bowl win.

King's stepfather, Terry Smith, said that the decision was a really difficult one for King make.

"It was real difficult. That's why it came down to the last minute here," Smith said. "Tuesday is their last day to apply."

With all of the accomplishments King has had as a Nittany Lion - including being named second-team coaches All-Big Ten in the 2006 season and first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media in 2007 - Smith said his son had to weigh many factors in his decision.

"He was torn because of the relationships he's built at Penn State with the staff and coaches and his teammates," Smith said. "He was a part of something great there, rebuilding Penn State back to a national power, winning three straight bowl games...

"He's accomplished a lot there. He was torn in his decision and he just felt like it was time for him to make this decision that was best for him."

Smith said that King came down to a final decision this morning after sleeping on it last night.

"Yesterday, we talked about it and then it was kind of one of those, 'Sleep it over and if you wake up feeling the same, then that's what it is.'"

Although King made it clear to BWI's Tricia Lafferty this summer that going pro after this season was a real possibility, he appeared to be back-and-forth throughout the 2007 season.

Smith said that King was '50-50' throughout the process.

King's draft prospects appear to be solid with the NFL Draft advisory board told King he projected as a second-or-third round pick this past week in a telephone conversation.

Now, King is spending his time in Arizona at the Athletes Performance Institute awaiting the NFL combine, Smith said.

"He'll probably stay in Arizona until the combine and go back and wait for the pro day at Penn State," Smith said. "We're not sure when the pro day will be yet."

As for the process of contacting an agent and getting himself completely prepared for the contract aspects of entering the NFL Draft, Smith said that would happen down the line.

"He can't sign with an agent until after the 18th anyway," Smith said. "We'll just cross that bridge when we need to."

King finished his Penn State career with 90 tackles, three interceptions, 23 pass breakups, 24 passes defended and a fumble recovery.


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