Friday, January 2, 2015

KU wide receiver Nigel King to declare for NFL Draft

Kansas receiver Nigel King tips a deep pass to himself to keep it in bounds for an eventual touchdown against TCU during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas receiver Nigel King tips a deep pass to himself to keep it in bounds for an eventual touchdown against TCU during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 at Memorial Stadium.


Kansas University junior wide receiver Nigel King told the Journal-World Friday afternoon that he was declaring for the 2015 NFL Draft and would not return to Kansas for his final season of eligibility.

King, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound transfer from the University of Maryland enjoyed a strong season during his only season with the Jayhawks, finishing 2014 with 518 yards and one touchdown on 29 receptions while emerging as one of KU's best deep threats.

King's biggest contribution at KU was his 78-yard, circus-style touchdown grab in KU's near-upset of No. 5 TCU. The play went on to be nationally nominated as the offensive play of the year in college football.

King, who came to KU after graduating from Maryland, said his intention when he arrived in Lawrence was to finish graduate school before moving on to professional football. However, a strong finish to the season and a gut feeling told him the time was right.

“I didn't start the season off as strong as I wanted,” the Raleigh, North Carolina native told the Journal-World. “But I felt good about the way I finished and it just came down to me feeling like I was ready for it and knowing in my heart that this is what I want to do.”

King and returning quarterback Michael Cummings developed a strong rapport throughout the second half of the 2014 season, and the thought was that getting both of them back in 2015 would be a huge lift for the KU passing game. However, after losing Nick Harwell, Justin McCay and Tony Pierson along with tight end Jimmay Mundine to graduation, KU's receiving corps will be one of the most inexperienced groups in the Big 12 next season, with senior-to-be Tre' Parmalee being the KU receiver with the most playing time under his belt.

KU will not be without options at wide receiver, as the roster features four freshmen wideouts from this season — although two of them moved to different positions during the year — and will be bolstered by the arrival at least three more receivers in the 2015 recruiting class, including three-star, DeSoto (Texas) High prospect Kevin Thomas. Senior-to-be Rodriguez Coleman also may factor into the mix, but he played sparingly in 2014 and also encountered off-the-field issues.

King, who came to KU largely because of his high school coach's relationship with former KU receivers coach Eric Kiesau, said seeing Kiesau leave when David Beaty took over as KU's new head coach was a bummer but added that the coaching change did not play much of a role in his decision.

“That really wasn't it,” King said. “Of course Kiesau leaving hurt, but that's not why I decided this. Coming to KU definitely helped me a lot and I think I'm ready. I met a lot of great people, learned a lot and enjoyed my time here.”

King said he was in the process of hiring an agent and was hoping to receive an invitation to the NFL's Scouting Combine in February. Combine or no combine, King said he planned to go through KU's pro timing day in March and will spend the next several weeks preparing for both.


John Fitzgerald 7 years, 11 months ago

Can't really blame the guy. We're not going to be very good this year and I'm sure that circus catch and his size will be enough to land him somewhere. My only question would be what if he doesn't get drafted? What happens then?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 11 months ago

With his size and speed combination along with what I'm guessing will be some variation of the Air Raid offense likely would've really showcased his skills and helped make him a mid round pick instead of a late to undrafted guy that he'll likely be this year. KU's going to be very small at WR next year which doesn't bode well for the passing game. Rod Coleman has size, but he hasn't shown much on the field and he's had off the field issues as well. KU really needs Kent Taylor and a couple of the other tight ends to really step up and help out the passing game by giving Cummings some targets with size.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 11 months ago

Is King the first post-Mangino guy to declare early?

Jack Joiner 7 years, 11 months ago

Son of a Gun! Good luck to him. You never know, a lot of freshman are making big noise in bowl games this year. Maybe we will have some.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 11 months ago

He's got a degree and KU will be bad next season, but he's a third day draft pick (4th-7th round) pick at best.

Dale Kroening 7 years, 11 months ago

His only chance is catching on with some team as a rookie FA . He wont get drafted. Why not stay for your senior year with a head coach that has experience coaching wrs . He's got good size and speed but is a poor blocker and his route running is average at best. BIG mistake , but good luck.

Joe Ross 7 years, 11 months ago

Mark my word: Nigel King will impress and be an integral part of an NFL team's roster within three seasons. He's got good speed, great size, and his hands are like glue. He has to learn a few things, but you don't get skills like he's got by loafing. He's a worker and as soon is he is comfortable with the adjustment the game will come to him.

Kevin Studer 7 years, 11 months ago

King is not one of the top 35 wide receivers in the class. This is a mistake.

Joe Ross 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh he definitely IS. He may not be ranked that way, but neither was TJ Houshmandzadeh, Stevie Johnson, Joe Horn, or Shannon Sharpe. Given time these players show their worth because cream rises to the top. Nigel King is a lot better than you are thinking.

Stephen Johnson 7 years, 11 months ago

Joe - I think you are right. We've only seen the start of what Nigel has the ability to do. We will really miss him next year, but the decision makes sense.

John Strayer 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm not sure you can adequately judge a receiver's skill by the performance of the KU offense. That offense had so many issues starting with o-line, that the best receiver in college would struggle here.

Andy Hess 7 years, 11 months ago

He probably left because he couldn't stand Keegan mispronouncing his name every single time he said it.

David Kemp 7 years, 11 months ago

Wish him luck, just disappointed for the team that he won't be bavk. He will be a big void to fill.

Brent Held 7 years, 11 months ago

He has talent but I he needed to prove himself more. Sure we aren't going to be good but at least he would have Cummings again to improve their already very good relationship on the field. I'm sorry but at this point he is going to go undrafted. Hopefully he signs with a team and makes plays in the preseason.

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