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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Football

Bright future ahead with King under center


King

Sophomore quarterback D’Eriq King runs the ball in the upset win against Oklahoma in September 2016. King has been a factor since he arrived in Houston but is now able to spread his wings as leader of the offense. | File photo/The Cougar

The 2017 regular season wasn’t the season that the Cougars hoped it would be.

A 7-4 record and a low-end bowl game are definitely beneath the preseason expectations that Houston players and coaches should have had for themselves. One bright spot for the team, however, is that they have likely found their quarterback of the future in sophomore D’Eriq King.

The 5-foot-11 QB replaced Kyle Postma and took over for Houston during its upset victory against South Florida. Under King, the Cougars earned a 3-1 record and second place in the American Athletic Conference West.

King also possesses the NCAA’s fifth-highest passer rating in the past four weeks with 182.6. He also ranks sixth in the nation during that stretch in completion percentage with 73 percent.

King’s mobility and strong arm is reminiscent of Greg Ward Jr.’s dynamic play under former head coach Tom Herman. This makes sense, because Ward mentored King during his last year with the team.

Herman said the two were “attached at the hip” while Ward was showing him the ropes. At the time, King was transitioning from quarterback to slot receiver.

It’s safe to say that Houston fans are happy that his transition to receiver wasn’t successful.

Something else that the two have in common is head coach Major Applewhite, Ward’s offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016. Statistically, Applewhite helped the offense explode, leading to Ward’s two best seasons at Houston.

The statistical comparison between the two in their first four games under Applewhite are also eerily similar.

In Ward’s first four games under Applewhite, he tallied 1,058 passing yards, 15 total touchdowns and a completion percentage of 70.9 with a record of 4-0. King posted 969 passing yards, 12 total touchdowns and a completion percentage of 73 with a 3-1 record.

Before buying your Peach Bowl tickets for next season, remember that King still has a long way to go if he and the Cougars wish to have the success that they had under Ward. But early on, the numbers look promising for a bright future for him and the team.

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