Wednesday can’t come soon enough for Woodrow Wilson senior tight end/defensive end Travon King.
That is the beginning of the second football signing period for high school seniors, and King said he has been counting down the days until he can give his signature to Temple.
“I am excited,” King said over the weekend. “I can’t wait to sign and get it over with and then start getting ready for my freshman year.”
The recruiting process was difficult for King, an Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey defensive lineman who recorded 21 sacks.
“It was confusing,” he said.
So much so that King originally made an oral commitment to Rutgers.
“As far back as the summer, I saw myself playing at Temple,” he said. “But then I saw myself playing for Rutgers.”
Both are close to home, which was important to King, who according to Woodrow Wilson coach Preston Brown, ended up with 24 scholarship offers.
“In the end, I thought Temple was the best place for me,” King said.
Temple has projected the 6-foot-4, 200-pound King to play outside linebacker/standup defensive end.
“That hybrid 3-4 scheme with the standup guy who puts his hand in the dirt, that is the scheme [Temple coach Geoff Collins] has run for years, and Travon fits that bill,” said Brown, himself a former star at Woodrow Wilson who played for Tulane. “You look at him now at roughly 200 pounds and in the AAC [American Athletic Conference], you don’t have to be a 250- or 260-pound guy at that position.”
King was also explosive as a tight end and said he hasn’t ruled out playing offense in college.
“I would like to play whatever position I can get on the field quicker and help the team,” King said.
King helped lead Wilson to an 8-4 record and a berth in the South Jersey Group 3 championship game, in which the Tigers fell to Delsea, 29-28. Still, that was an improvement from a 43-14 regular-season loss to that same Delsea team.
“Our freshman year, our team had a losing program, and we it turned around,” King said.
The Tigers were 2-8 during King’s freshman year. Then Brown took over and Wilson made it to the playoffs each of the next three years.
“I am proud of our team,” King said. “I never saw us going to the championship, and this year even though we didn’t finish it, we gave it all we had.”
When Brown took over, King was still trying to develop his football identity. Brown said that King’s brother Stanley, a current junior at Woodrow Wilson who earned a scholarship offer from North Carolina State as a freshman, lit a fire under him.
“After that, Travon came to me asking what he had to do to be a Division I player,” Brown said. “I said he needed to play defense, improve his offense, and gain confidence and be on the field longer.”
This past season, even when he was hurt, King was hard to keep off the field.
Despite his dominating senior season, King was less than 100 percent for much of the year. He suffered an ankle injury early in the year that forced him to miss one game.
“I got treatment twice a day,” King said. “I wasn’t 100 percent even when I returned, and would feel some pain throughout the game.”
He did everything he could to get back on the field. Now King is ready to begin preparing for his college football career.
“I feel so relieved that this process is over,” King said. “I feel free and am ready to go.”
Notes: Besides King, Temple is expected to sign three other players. The Owls, who signed 25 in the early signing period, are expected to sign Tyreke Young, a 6-3, 210-pound defensive end from Hilton Head, South Carolina; David Nwaogwugwu (6-6, 245) a defensive lineman from Dewitt Clinton in the Bronx, and running back Onansis Neely of East Pennsboro High in Pennsylvania.
Temple free safety Sean Chandler, a four-year starter, has been invited to the NFL combine. The former star at Camden started four years with the Owls, the first two at corner and the last two at safety. The combine takes place Feb. 27 through March 5 in Indianapolis.