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Longview tight end King commits to Sam Houston

By Rick Kretzschmar rickk@news-journal.com
Jan. 24, 2012 at 10 p.m.


In the last two years Braden King has put on weight by lifting weights. Because he has put on pounds of muscle, the former Longview Lobo has put himself in position to play football at the next level.

The next level will likely be with Sam Houston State as Braden made a verbal commitment to the Bearkats on Tuesday. The 6-4, 230-pound tight end picked the Bearkats over Stephen F. Austin as well as Kilgore College and Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Braden commits to a program coming off a landmark year. Sam Houston State was 14-1 in the 2011 season, advancing the FCS national championship game before dropping a 17-6 decision to North Dakota State on Jan. 7 in Frisco.

"I didn't go to the game, but one of my career goals is to win a national championship," Braden King said. "I have a chance to play three years too. They have two tight ends who will be seniors next year, but that will give me a year to get used to what the team expects.

"I'm very excited I have the opportunity to play at the next level."

Going to Sam Houston State would deny Northwestern State its third tight-end signee from Longview since head coach John King (no relation to Braden) came to Longview in 2000 (he has been the head coach since 2004). Gordon Freeman and David Larsen previously signed with the Demons.

King would be the eighth Longview tight end to sign with a college in his coach's tenure. The previous were Walter Sharp (Mary Hardin-Baylor), Tate Casey (Florida), Freeman, Adrian Reese (Texas Tech), Larsen, Brandon Olson (Kansas) and D'Marjai Devine (Tyler JC). Verbal commitments are non-binding. The first day recruits can sign with a college is next Wednesday.

King's receiving statistics were modest in 2011, making four receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown. King's major contribution was blocking for a Longview rushing attack that averaged 214.2 yards per game. Longview averaged 34.5 points per game on its way to an 11-2 season and the Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal round of the playoffs in 2011.

"As much off-tackle and power running we had we needed a dominant tight end like Braden," John King said.

King said in the past two years he has put on 30 pounds of muscle. He credited offensive lineman Clark Orren, who missed his entire senior season in 2011 because of a pre-season ankle injury, with guidance on healthy weight gain.

"It was work in the weight room. In my diet I had protein supplements. With food I ate more chicken and rice," he said. "I followed what Clark did."

King said he likes Sam Houston State's scheme when it comes to run blocking. He could become even more involved with the strategy, and bulk up even more, if John King's hunch is true.

"Down the road Braden could transition into an offensive lineman. It will be based on need," said John King, who was an offensive lineman for Northwestern State from 1985 to 1988. "He has the frame where he could wind up weighing 280, 290 pounds."

King is expected to sign with Sam Houston State in a ceremony at Lobo Coliseum next Wednesday. Other Longview football players also expected to sign letters of intent are receiver Eric Hawkins (Arkansas) and linebacker Jordan Burton (Stephen F. Austin).

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