From the beginning of his recruitment right up until signing day, spanning spurned scholarship offers and artfully dishonest recruiting tactics from rival schools, Blake King’s college plans never wavered. He wanted to attend Northwestern ever since the mere concept of being recruited for his offensive line talents became a real possibility. When the offer came from head coach Pat Fitzgerald, less than a month after four-star quarterback Matt Alviti became the Wildcats’ first commitment of 2013, King didn’t hesitate.
The next morning, after coming to the realization he had no reason to delay the decision any longer, and with his parents already full steam ahead on their son becoming a Wildcat, Blake King made the phone call he always hoped his stellar offensive line play at Minooka high school (Ilinois) would one day lead to.
“Since I started getting recruited,” King said Tuesday of when he remembers coming to the conclusion that, if offered, he would elect to join Northwestern. If you didn’t know any better, a brief conversation with King would leave the distinct impression of speaking to a Northwestern football office staffer, or even Fitzgerald himself. One simple question (what made Northwestern such an easy choice for you?) branched off into a long-winded eulogy of Wildcats football involving every last trope and cliché in Fitzgerald’s post-game press conference arsenal.
He talked about the recent momentum and the positive atmosphere and a winning culture and on-and-off-field leadership and facilities, about everything coming together in the form a 10-win season and Bowl victory at just the right time, just as King prepares to begin his college football career.
“Coach Fitz is a great leader and a great coach,” he said. “It’s in a great location, there are new facilities coming, and when you go there, there’s this good family vibe you get. Things are only headed up.”
The proximity of campus, and a growing friendship with Tyler Lancaster, allowed King to attend five games last season. “The Vanderbilt game was pretty awesome,” he said. Thanks to the Commodores’ abrupt cancellation of the back half of a scheduled home-and-home series, Northwestern will not play Vanderbilt this season, but when King attends NU games this year, he wants to be more than a spectator.
“Just getting on the field and contributing would be awesome,” he said. On this particular weekday, King happened to be staying over fellow 2013 commit Brad North’s house in Allen, Texas. The two linemen developed a close relationship over the past year when King discovered his childhood friend, who moved to Allen a few years back, just so happened to live near North. King made the trip south this week, and the two linemen spent their Tuesday fishing, working out, watching the Chicago Blackhawks and marveling at Allen’s $60 million high school stadium and, the best part, “lots of food.”
If there’s a template for what a day-long offensive lineman bro-out should consist of, an imagined list of activities any two big, good-humored, fun-loving, football-playing dudes would undertake, I’m not sure King and North could have scripted it any better.
“It was just hanging out,” he said. “A lot of fun.”
Their relationship will continue on and off the field at NU this season, where the two hope to coordinate a four-person living arrangement with their respective roomates (King is rooming with Lancaster, and North with Alviti). They could also both find themselves competing for a spot along the interior offensive line. North is all but certain to end up at center or one of the guard positions, but King, who stands 6’5’’, 270-pounds, says he could just as easily see himself playing on the outside as inside.
“Whatever helps me get on the field faster,” he said. “I’m just excited to go out there and compete.”
In less than a month, King will finally step into the college football home he’s long known to be the perfect destination. An already strong friendship with North and Lancaster, along with several other teammates, will make that process seem much simpler.
The Wildcats were always a natural fit, and King can’t wait to dive headfirst into his college career.