Ute Nation Countdown to Kickoff: Nygel King
Every great team has great starters at nearly every position that can be counted on to do their jobs each and every game. The Utes check that box this year. However, as playing in the Pac-12 has proven year after year, it’s not enough to simply have great ones, but also reliable twos and threes that can spell the starters in case of injury or fatigue. Utah’s starters at cornerback this year look to be some of the best they’ve had since joining the Pac-12. On one side is a guy with first round potential, Jaylon Johnson. On the other is a player with elite athleticism and change of direction ability, Tareke Lewis. Backing them up is Josh Nurse, who is cut from the same mold as former Utah greats Brian Allen and Sean Smith—and he still could start opposite of Johnson. However, aside from those three, the depth is a bit of a mystery.
The Utes added a couple of newcomers that have the talent to eventually turn into starters, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one of them get some playing time this year. However, they also have a corner who has quietly worked to make himself better each and every year since arriving in 2016, and will try to earn a bigger role in the rotation this season. That guy is Nygel King, who will wear number 16 for the Utes this year.
Andrew Fronce’s take
King has improved steadily since joining the program, and at 6 feet, 180 pounds, he has a solid enough build for a cornerback. Thinking back on King’s high school film, I liked his physical style of play, and thought he would be a natural fit in Utah’s defense. Now a redshirt junior, King hasn’t been able to break through quite yet as a regular contributor on defense, but that could change this year.
King has practiced plenty at cornerback, and has seen time on special teams in 17 games, while also appearing twice on defense last year. However, interestingly enough, he took reps at free safety during spring camp, and made the two-deep there. This fall, it appears as if he’s back with corners, and he’ll look to provide depth and see the field more in the defensive rotation. If all goes well, he could compete for a larger role as a senior.
Alex remembers King's recruitment
Although he was a two-star recruit coming out of Klien Oak HS in Spring, Texas, King had his fair share of P-5 offers, with Utah, Virginia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, and Illinois. He committed to the Utes just before signing day 2016, due to their scheme of putting their corners on an island and also because of the no BS approach from Shah and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley.