Desmond King made the offer and sealed the deal last Friday in East English Village’s 34-26 victory against King.
As a result of carrying the ball 29 times for 225 yards and a touchdown, and returning an interception 75 yards in the waning :55 seconds for the clinching TD, the Bulldogs’ 6-0, 185-pound senior has been named the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“He knew he had to carry the team this week because due to injuries we were going to be limited in the passing game,’’ The Ville coach Rod Oden said. “He told us before the game to put the game on his back, and we did. Never had he carried the ball that many times or for that many yards. But he was a thoroughbred. He ran hard to the finish.”
King, in his third year as a starting defensive back and first as a starting running back, is one of 20 returning fourth-year varsity players from the Crockett team that won last year’s PSL Division I crown in the school’s final season. The closing of Crockett and Finney High culminated with the opening of East English Village, which hopes to build on Crockett’s success under the same coaching staff.
“Tradition never graduates and I’m just trying to carry it on to the new players so they’ll know,’’ King said. “Everybody’s a family here. We all stick together through thick and thin. That’s what we had at Crockett and that’s what we’re trying to continue.”
That same kind of close-knit atmosphere prompted King to commit to play at Ball State University, one of nine major college scholarship offers he has received so far. “Down there, it’s like a good family,’’ he said. “I’m looking to make an impact as a defensive player right away. But if I don’t, I’ll just look to get better in the offseason.”
Based on his early returns as an offensive standout, King won’t be surprised if more colleges come calling in hopes of landing him as a running back. “I’d like to be a defensive player, but offense looks like it’s going to be good for me,’’ he said. “I’ll probably get a couple more offers down the line (to play as a running back). If it’s a good one, I might look at it. But right now I’m focusing on my high school team and I’m fully committed to Ball State.”
Spoken in the fashion of a team co-captain, King shares credit for what he describes as “one of the best games” in his high school career.
“I couldn’t do it by myself,’’ he said. “I have teammates to help lead the way. They block so I have to run. We had a couple of starters missing on the offensive line, but with the help of my linemen, the coach put the game on my shoulders, and we got the job done.”
Oden wasn’t surprised that King rose to the occasion, describing his running back-defensive back’s performance as in the “top three” for an individual he’s had in his coaching career. “He’s been training hard and preparing to be the man,’’ Oden said. “Last year, he split time (in the offensive backfield) and this year he knew he had to have a bigger role in our offense. He conditioned himself, he lifted the weights and worked out and prepared himself for days like Friday. He probably could have started earlier in his career somewhere else. But he waited patiently and stayed true to this program. It has worked out for him.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators.
Sports Information Director
Detroit Public Schools