In Saturday’s game against Virginia, Georgia Tech kicker Brenton King will be the starter for the third game in a row after replacing Shawn Davis in the lineup. Davis had won the job, but was lost for the season in the Miami game with a torn ACL. King, a freshman from Mill Creek High, met with media for the first time on Tuesday. Some of the notes from his interview:
1. King wasn’t happy (obviously) losing the starting job to Davis in the preseason, but recognized that Davis earned the spot. As it turned out, King said, being able to watch King go through the routine of warming up for a game and handle the flow of a game proved a learning experience. Davis, King said, “showed me the ropes.”
When Davis tore his ACL in the Miami game trying to make a tackle on a kickoff, he had the presence of mind to talk to King to get him ready to replace him.
“He was like, Get your reps in, make sure you’re loose, make sure you’re ready for the kick,” King said. “So he helped me out a lot with that.”
In the Miami game, King made a field goal from 31 yards and sent the next kickoff to the goal line.
2. One of King’s goals for the rest of the season is to hit his kickoffs more consistently deep. He has one touchback in 13 kickoffs thus far and is averaging 60 yards per kick. (Taken from the standard kickoff spot on the 35-yard line, a 60-yard kick lands at the opposing 5-yard line.) Davis had eight touchbacks on 27 kickoffs and averaged 59.8 yards per kickoff.
King said that in practice, he can put kickoffs between the 1-yard line and two yards deep into the end zone.
“I just need to be able to show it throughout the game day,” King said.
King is 5-for-5 on field-goal tries, with kicks ranging from 22 to 42 yards. He has made tries in practice up to 47 or 48 yards. (If you’re wondering, that’s farther than Harrison Butker got without a miss. Butker missed the second and third attempts of his career before making nine of his final 11 as a freshman. Butker, by the way, was named AFC special teams player of the month Thursday for making 18 of 19 field-goal tries to start his career.)
3. Davis worked with backup quarterback Chase Martenson as his holder until his injury. King partners with a different holder, backup quarterback Lucas Johnson. The team was formed in the preseason.
“He got all my camp reps and me and him just have really good chemistry together, so that’s just the guy I want to hold for me,” King said.
King said that he and Johnson’s personalities mesh well together and that he has developed trust in Johnson getting the snap from Casey Wilson down for his field-goal and point-after tries.