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Dreaming about an NFL career, La’Rod King spends his waking hours hard at work.
A 2009 North Hardin graduate, King hopes to impress pro football scouts next week at the University of Kentucky’s pro day. To get ready, the wide receiver has been doing twice daily workouts.
Each morning, he’s concentrating on drills that the NFL talent experts use as baselines for comparison. In particular, King is anxious about making a top mark in the 40-yard dash and moving fluidly through agility tests.
“It can be done,” King said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at. It’s about how bad you want it.”
His agent, Jon Rabinowitz of Global Sports Management in Elizabethtown, said King is willing to do the work necessary.
“He’s working hard. He’s doing everything we’ve told him to do,” Rabinowitz said. “He’s actually worked harder than we’ve asked.”
Although he was not invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, where top prospects are scrutinized in detail, the pro day March 21 offers a similar opportunity to impress teams before next month’s NFL draft.
King has the size most NFL teams covet. He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and his afternoon weightlifting workouts are designed to shape and tone his 220-pound frame.
King said his times in the 40 have ranged from the high end of a 4.4-second range to the low 4.5s, which he expects will impress the scouts. He also needs to demonstrate quickness and agility off the line and in his cuts on the field.
Playing as a receiver on Kentucky’s inconsistent offense may have limited some opportunities to shine on the field, King admits.
“It was a revolving door at quarterback,” he said. “I played with four different quarterbacks as a senior.”
But King believes he’s always demonstrated he has good hands and that he aggressively attacks the ball, pulling it down at its highest point. He made some positive impressions while appearing Feb. 2 in the Texas vs. The Nation college all-star game.
While he’s devoted to the workouts and understands the scouts’ interest in measurable skills, King said football savvy still matters.
“When it comes down to it, can you play the game?” he said. “I can do it.”
Rabinowitz agrees, saying “numerous teams have a high level of interest in La’Rod.”
Mock drafts and player assessment sites fill the Internet and King ranks far below the elite. For example, nfl.com gives him a rating of 54.5 as compared to the 90s-level issued for anticipated first-round picks such as Tavon Austin of West Virginia or Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee.
The list has 44 receivers rated higher than King and an independent site from The Sports Xchange called nflscoutdraft.com ranks him 56th among 396 receivers in its evaluation.
Rabinowitz encourages his clients, who also include Kentucky center Matt Smith, to ignore draft speculation.
“What I have him focus on are the things that he can control now,” the agent said.
Among those factors are education. Rabinowitz said he’s delighted King followed advice and completed his studies at Kentucky. King said he expects to graduate in May with a degree in communication leadership development.
King expects to be a late-round draft pick but if he’s not selected Rabinowitz is certain King will be a priority free agent selection and receive a contract and invitation to an NFL training camp.
If his pro football dreams don’t come true, what’s next? King said he’s likely to follow his father’s footsteps and consider a career with an organization that does not have a draft, the U.S. Army.
Ben Sheroancan be reached at (270) 505-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org