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Projecting the Future: Justin King


Ratings: Rivals 3* No. 64 athlete No. 63 player in state, Scout 3* No. 79 outside linebacker, ESPN 3* No. 46 outside linebacker No. 49 player in state, 247 3* No. 96 player in Georgia. Chose UT over Arkansas, Cincinnati, Georgia State, Louisville, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Central Florida, Virginia and Wisconsin.

STRENGTHS: He has incredible size, pushing 6-4 and with the frame to hold 230-240 pounds and still be very fast. It's pretty crazy to think somebody his size can run a 4.56 40-yard dash, but that's what Scout lists his time as. He is very intelligent and has been a Tennessee fan, committing pretty quickly after offered. He is very football intelligent, and it's not every day you have a high school option quarterback come in to play linebacker.

NEEDS WORK: There's no way he can be fundamentally sound after being relied on so much for offense in high school. He also looks to me like he needs to bulk up. He is versatile but raw and while he looks like he could be a play-maker rushing the quarterback as an OLB, he's not big enough yet to play it in a 3-4 scheme. He is very strong, but he isn't that quick-twitch athlete and hasn't yet grown into his body.

CREDENTIALS: As a junior he rushed for 413 yards and three touchdowns, passing for 218 yards and three scores and amassing 39 tackles. Though stats are difficult to come by for King, he led his team to a 6-4 record after they started 0-2 without him as a quarterback. If anybody has any senior stats, please post them.

OPTIMISTIC CEILING: I picture King being one of these athletic linebackers of old that played skill positions in high school -- guys like Eddie Moore and Dominique Stevenson -- but King is much bigger than those guys. He really could be a special talent once he gets a couple of years to adapt to college football. He is nearly 6-4 and has a massive frame, so while he's a project, I really think he has an incredible upside and will be a very nice player for the Vols in time. His size-speed combo is terrific. But you wonder why he didn't have better offers.