Harty: Hope he stays, but couldn’t blame Desmond King for leaving early
Could you really blame Desmond King for skipping his senior season at Iowa to enter the NFL draft?
Selfishly, I hope he doesn’t bolt because imagine the thrills that King is likely to provide as a senior cornerback and return specialist next season.
The Detroit native would be among three returning starters in the secondary and seven overall on defense, and maybe eight should defensive end Drew Ott win his appeal for a medical hardship.
And last but certainly not least, King would be another year closer to earning his college degree if he stayed in school.
King would have all that waiting for him as a senior, and yet, it would make just as much sense, if not more, if he skipped his senior season to enter the 2016 NFL draft.
You’d like to think, what’s the hurry? College only happens once. So why not get the most out of it?
Because as a football player, I’m not sure if King could do anymore to help his cause. He is tied for Iowa’s single-season record with eight interceptions and was the recipient of the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate defensive back.
His knees are unscathed besides normal wear and tear and his stock is probably as high as it’ll ever be as a consensus All-America honoree.
It would make sense for King to strike why his iron is hot.
I’m not aware of King’s financial background, but playing in the NFL likely would provide enough money to change the course of his life and those close to him. It would definitely provide enough money for King to finish his college education with little to no financial strain.
A decision ultimately should come down to what King hears from the real experts in this kind of situation. If King is told that he projects as no worse than being a high third-round pick, it would make sense to take the money and run.
King told reporters on Monday in Los Angeles that he still is waiting for his NFL evaluation and is trying to focus on Friday’s Rose Bowl matchup with Stanford.
“I’ll decide when the time comes,” King said Monday.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is well-connected in NFL circles and we’re talking about the Jim Thorpe Award winner. King should have access to the best inside information available.
“It really hasn’t been pressing,” Ferentz said last Tuesday when asked about King’s future. “We gathered information. We told him we would do that. He’s going through the advisory board like anybody should.
“We’ll get all the information, so he’s got accurate information. And go from there. The big thing I want any player to do is make a well-informed decision, not one based on voodoo, those Magic 8 balls, or the guy down the street, or Uncle Tim, you know, or whatever it may be.”
If the experts tell King that he isn’t ready and needs another year of seasoning in college, then my opinion would change, too.
I’m just not sure what more the 5-foot-11, 200-pound King could do to help his cause over the next year. He is unlikely to grow anymore at this late stage, nor is he likely to add another gear for speed.
It also seems unlikely that King would intercept eight passes again next season because opponents would be reluctant to throw his way. His presence in the secondary would make Iowa a better team, but it wouldn’t necessarily make King a better NFL prospect than he appears to be right now.
Football players are at risk of serious injury every time they compete in a game or in practice.
The NFL also stands for “not for long” for a reason. Careers are short and fleeting in the NFL. A star today can be gone tomorrow.
My heart wants King to play his senior season for the Hawkeyes because it would make such a good story, a former unheralded recruit turns down NFL riches to stay in school
My mind, however, sees it differently.
Either way, King appears to be in a win-win situation.
He is part of a resurgent program and has a head coach who will act in his best interest with regard to the NFL.
King also has NFL potential because you don’t impact games the way he has without being a special talent.
So whatever King decides to do, the next year in his life should be rewarding.