Aalijah King out of Griffin has been a steady figure in their backfield the last few years. Standing at about 5’10”, and over 200 lbs., the powerful senior back can carry the rock, but also shows some of the best hands out of the backfield in the state.
The Griffin coaching staff trust those hands so much that he returns punts, and last weekend the 2020 recruit made a play that was not only amazing, but potentially game-deciding (aside from an extremely debatable blindside block on the punter). Catching the punt around the 25 yard line, it didn’t look like King really had anywhere to go with a slew of Newnan players surrounding him.
But resiliency and toughness are two characteristics that embodies King, and on the gridiron, there is no better place to witness these traits. The first few defenders seemingly held up King, but as the expression goes, “the low man always win,” and the 2020 back got his pads knee level to break through a string of tacklers, then magically emerged from a pile of humanity into the open field where he was led by an envoy of blockers. What should have been the go-ahead touchdown was called back, but regardless, the 75-yard punt return was epic, and well deserving of the top play of the week.
The Bears are now undefeated, and currently ranked #10 in our 5-A polls. King believes that even bigger opportunities are on the horizon for his Griffin squad too.
“Collectively, as a team, we all want to achieve one common goal and that’s to play at Georgia State in December, and not just to play, we want to bring another state championship back to the city.” King continued, “As a team we are restoring the glory, the real meaning of the “G”, and we have very high standards and expectations for the season. We are making a statement as one of the top powerhouses in the state of Georgia.”
Head coach Kareem Reid’s vision has obviously permeated to his players. The new Griffin coach comes from Westlake where they won 3 region championships in a row, and nearly got into the 7-A state title a few season back before coming short in the semifinals. A back like King will obviously play a huge part towards their success, and if the Bears receive the production that King envisions, they’ll be in good shape.
“My individual goals for this season are to have +1200 rushing yards with +500 receiving yards attached too. I want to have at least 18 touchdowns on the ground,” he said.
A total 1700 yards with surely some returns like last weekend added in would put King near 2000 all-purpose yards on the season. Those goals are especially attainable if they play 15 games, but right now they are taking one game at time.
In terms of recruiting, King is still looking to lock in his commitment, and is currently hearing from a wide range of programs.
“I have heard from some colleges for sure. Over the spring and summer, I received 12 scholarship offers. I have been in contact with a lot of those schools. Also, Ga State, Murray State, Kennesaw State, Eastern Illinois, Albany State, Lenoir-Rhyne, and West Georgia – these are some of the schools that I have been in heavy contact with.”
He added, “My recruitment is 100% open.”
In terms of visits, King just got back from checking out Charlotte last weekend. “It was a very nice place, loved the vibe, and the atmosphere. I have more visits planned for the future.”
With no concrete visit planned right now, this is the prime opportunity for a D1 program to jump into his recruitment, and make an impact. The hard-working student-athlete spent the last offseason honing his skills, and thinks he is more than just a short yardage player at the next level.
“I have improved my vision and my footwork. In the past years, I always thought of myself as just a power back, just a downhill type, and try to run someone over. Now, with all the work I put in, I feel like I can make a moves, get by you, and then take it the distance.”
We first heard about King a few years back from a local trainer who is now the running back coach at West Georgia, Enrique Davis. He was very high on King saying that he was a D1 recruit to watch out for, and so we have watch the 2020 back closely, and seen him develop from his sophomore year on. What has always stood out with King among his peers is the obvious powerful frame to add good college muscle, but also that skill level to make plays in the passing game too.
That’s why it was little surprise to know who King models his game after.
“If I had to pick someone I model my game around, it would have to be someone like Le’Veon Bell. He is very patient with the ball. He can make you miss or run you over too. He is also very versatile, who can make a play with his hands too. I carry all of those features myself, so I would say I model my game around him.”
King is definitely a recruit to monitor this fall as a lot of FBS/FCS programs are looking for running backs in the state to emerge, so there is a ton of opportunity for King to breakout out of the pack and be a coveted back. That, in large part, will be up to his film, but taking his team deep into the playoffs will certainly boost his exposure as well, so stay tuned to @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to hear more about King and the rest of the athletes across the Peach State.
Interested in recruiting Aalijah King? Click HERE to visit his Recruit Georgia profile.