Pine-Richland grad making stops as starting linebacker for Stony Brook

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Sunday, September 26, 2021 | 11:01 AM


As Tyler King was going through his recruiting process, the thing that stood out about Stony Brook was the coaching staff’s transparency.

“They didn’t beat around the bush in anything with what they were telling me,” King said. “They were very straight forward.”

The message was that hard work pays off, and that was music to King’s ears.

King, a two-time All-State linebacker while at Pine-Richland, went to work in the film room, the weight room and studying the playoff book. He was rewarded with a starting middle linebacker job as a redshirt freshman and is paying the coaches back by excelling on the field.

King earned Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week honors Sept. 20 for a 12-tackle performance at Oregon. He learned that he had received the award following a practice.

“I was happy with it, but I’m always hungry,” King said. “I’m never satisfied, and there’s always room for growth.”

That hunger is part of the reason he earned a starting linebacker job. He said he wasn’t promised anything heading into training camp. He learned he earned the job the week prior to Stony Brook’s season opener against New Hampshire.

Not only is he a starter as a redshirt freshman, but he’s also one of the team’s signal callers along with fellow linebacker Reidgee Dimanche. They are in charge of relaying the defensive plays.

King was one of the defensive play callers on Pine-Richland’s 2018 state championship team, but having the same role in college is a much larger task.

“We have to make sure everyone gets lined up right, gets the call and the signals,” King said. “It’s different than high school, because it’s a lot bigger playbook. One of the things that has helped elevate my game is learning where everyone is supposed to be and not just my responsibilities. That helps me sort things out. I know when I’ll have help or who is going into what gap.”

Stony Brook traveled to fourth-ranked Oregon a week after the Ducks had pulled an upset at Ohio State. The Seawolves flirted with an upset of their own in the first half, trailing only 17-7 at halftime before the Ducks pulled away for a 48-7 victory.

The result aside, King enjoyed the experience of playing at Oregon from the size of the stadium to the noise of the crowd. He played a major role in keeping the Seawolves within striking distance in the first half.

“There were some things I noticed on film, but really what it comes down to is all 11 guys doing what they are supposed to do,” King said. “The running back happened to go where I was supposed to be most of the time. I shot some gaps and the coaches called the right plays, so I have to thank them for that.”

Stony Brook (1-2) had a nonconference game with Fordham on Saturday before entering CAA play. Though they didn’t get the result they wanted in Oregon, the performance has given King confidence personally and belief that the team can do some damage this fall.

“The first few games we were a little rusty, but after the (Oregon game), we know we can play with anybody in our conference,” King said. “I wouldn’t count us out.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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