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Miami Hurricanes 2022 Path to the NFL Draft: QB/WR D’Eriq King

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Through Thick and Thin, King Played a Pivotal Role in Changing the Culture at the U, but was also a First Mover in the NIL Landscape across the NCAA

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

D’Eriq King’s journey is one that books can be written about and he is just 24 years old. As he embarks on the next chapter, much more can be included as he looks to carve his way out on an NFL roster.

Regardless, as he goes through the draft process, his trials and tribulations to date should help him succeed at regardless of where his path takes him.

QB/WR D’Eriq King Draft Snapshot:

2022 NFL Draft Ranking* - 14th Quarterback

(Position Ranking based on The Athletic, Dane Brugler, 2022 Draft Guide)*
Height: 5’8” (5th Percentile)
Weight: 196lbs (16th Percentile)
Arm Length: 28 7/8” (1st Percentile)
Wingspan: 71 1/8” (4th Percentile)
Hand: 9 1/4” (35th Percentile)

Career Statistics:
2016: 10GP/4GS, QB: 2/3 (66.7%), 20 yards, 1 TD; WR: 29 receptions, 228 yards, 1 TD, Kick Return TD (Houston, missed bowl game due to injury)
2017: 10GP/4GS, QB: 90/139 (64.7%), 1260 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs, 72 carries, 379 yards, 8 TDs; WR: 29 receptions, 264 yards, 2 TDs (Houston, missed first two games due to injury)
2018: 11GP/11GS, 219/345 (63.5%), 2,982 yards, 36 TDs, 6 INTs, 111 carries, 674 yards, 14 TDs (Houston, Second Team All-AAC, missed final two games)
2019: 4GP/4GS, 58/110 (52.7%), 663 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs, 55 carries, 312 yards, 6 TDs (Houston, Team Captain, Redshirted)
2020: 11GP/11GS, 211/329 (64.1%), 2,686 yards, 23 TDs, 5 INTs, 130 carries, 538 yards, 4 TDs (Miami, Team Captain, Honorable Mention All-ACC
2021: 3GP/3GS, 81/122 (66.4%), 767 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 40 carries, 96 yards (Miami, Team Captain, missed final nine games due to shoulder injury)
CAREER: QB: 661/1,048 (63.1%), 8,378 yards, 76 TDs, 19 INTs, 423 carries, 2,055 yards, 32 TDs; WR: 61 receptions, 520 yards, 3 TDs

Pro Football Focus (PFF) Grades
- Overall 2016 PFF Grade: N/A
- Overall 2017 PFF Grade: N/A
- Overall 2018 PFF Grade: 91.2
- Overall 2019 PFF Grade: N/A
- Overall 2020 PFF Grade: 90.6
- Overall 2021 PFF Grade: N/A

NFL Combine/Pro Day Results:

40-Yard Dash: 4.60 (47th Percentile)
Bench: DNT
3-Cone: 7.26 (16th Percentile)
Shuttle: DNT
Vertical Jump: DNT
Broad Jump: DNT

Background:

Three-Time Captain, Spearheaded the NIL Movement

D’Eriq King was born and raised around football in Texas near the Houston area. King went to Manvel High, and was an immediate starter as a dual-threat quarterback. King held off stiff competition from current Tampa Bay Buccaneer/former Florida Gator, Kyle Trask, who was a pro-style quarterback in the same class. He maintained productivity and a low TD/INT ratio throughout high school en route to breaking Kyler Murray’s state record by amassing 126 passing touchdowns. King was a high three-star recruit (No. 396 overall) as he was recruited as an athlete/dual-threat quarterback. King opted to stay in state as he narrowed his choices to Houston and TCU before signing with the Cougars.

Upon enrollment at Houston, King sat behind another dual-threat athlete and current NFL free agent wide receiver, Greg Ward, for his first two seasons. Rather than carry a clipboard, King was an active wide receiver/return man while he wasn’t on relief duty. In those two years, King accumulated nearly 500 yards receiving and three receiving scores. He also tossed eight touchdowns and added a kick return score (he threw, caught, and returned a touchdown in one game).

Despite missing games his first three years, King seamlessly transitioned to full-time quarterback where he threw for nearly 3,000 yards and rushed for 14 touchdowns. He was named Second Team All-AAC in 2018. However, in 2019, after opening the Cougars opened the season 1-3, a new Houston coaching staff requested King redshirt so he could play again for a fifth year.

King transferred to Miami where he was immediately named captain in his first offseason with the group in spite of the nation facing the height of the pandemic. On a team that needed a cultural change and leadership, D’Eriq stepped in and led the Canes to a 7-2 ACC record after going a combined 8-8 the preceding two years. King suffered a devastating knee injury in the Cheez-It Bowl but prioritized recovery and returned in time for the start of the 2021 season. Unfortunately, just three weeks into the season, King suffered a shoulder injury. He took various opinions in an effort to comeback but he ended up requiring surgery and missed the remainder of the season, which ended up being his fifth season out of six affected by injury. While he was sidelined, King served as a great mentor and essentially extra coach for backup quarterback and possible 2023 NFL Draftee, Tyler Van Dyke.

King has proven to be a warrior at every step of the way in dealing with injuries and coming back from injuries. However, adversity is built into his being. His mother, Cassandra, is a breast cancer survivor. Further, his father, Eric, sadly passed away at age 48 from a heart attack in February 2020 - right when D’Eriq was in the midst of transferring to Miami. Overcoming the litany of injuries and latest shoulder issue to carve his way onto an NFL roster, is nothing compared to what King has experienced.

To that end, King has always carried himself with an unmatched character and handled everything at a first class level from playing wide receiver/special teams in Houston to putting his head down and getting back on the field less than nine months after a brutal knee injury. King was also an instrumental leader in the NIL movement that has taken over the NCAA. In the first few hours that the NCAA issued its interim NIL policy, King inked a few deals and was labeled the poster boy in college sports. He also teamed up with FSU’s McKenzie Milton to help navigate the NIL waters for all athletes.

Player Profile:

“He’s everything that’s right about college football”

King had his electric moments at the collegiate level at both Houston and Miami as a true dual-threat player. However, his best asset beyond his arm or legs is his top notch character and willingness to do everything. King recently said “I’m open doing whatever it takes to make a roster.” To that end, King proved his athleticism in Houston as a capable wide receiver and as a return man on special teams. He has good enough speed and dynamic tendencies to be a slot receiver but has not played regularly there since his sophomore year five years ago.

This non-QB avenue, as a leader and locker room guy, is his best chance to make an NFL roster. His special teams capabilities are nothing to sneeze at: his freshman season he had a kick return TD and average 25.4 yards per kick return. He also handled punt return duties.

As a passer, he is likely too undersized at 5’8” to get it done at the NFL level. However, his experience as a veteran and immense poise under pressure provide him an advantage as a QB. He is not afraid to rifle passes and can pull it down and run when necessary. However, his mechanics and passes can sometimes be inconsistent, forcing wide receivers to adjust their path.

Despite his diminutive figure, he has proven that he will, and can, do it all. Teams will love his unrivaled character as he was all class throughout his interview process. His former offensive coordinator, Rhett Lashlee, has said King is “everything that’s right about college football.” Lashlee is not wrong.

The biggest concern will be his injury history, which will be vetted by NFL teams.

Strengths/Positives

  • Unparalleled Leader: Three-Time Captain for Two programs
  • Hardest Worker in the Room
  • Willingness to put Team First
  • Capabilities at QB/WR/Special Teams
  • Mental Toughness in every facet

Weaknesses/Negatives

  • Injury and Durability Concerns
  • Undersized
  • Does not project as NFL QB
  • Will be 25 years old his rookie year

Best NFL Fits (UDFA): Teams that want a leader who can help the culture

NFL Comparisons: Greg Ward, Antwaan Randle El

Bottom Line:

King will be an interesting case study in a long list of mixed results for players that enter the draft after predominantly playing in college as quarterback but switching to a wide receiver hybrid role for the pros. The list includes a number of players who have not panned out such as Braxton Miller, Terrelle Pryor, Denard Robinson, Michael Robinson, and Greg Ward Jr., but does include examples like Julian Edelman, Josh Cribbs, and Antwaan Randle El who found relative success in the NFL.

His best trait is his top notch character in the locker room as a worker/leader who led by example, as well as on the field with a dynamic talent in the spread offense. If his outspoken ability to spearhead the NIL initiative is any indication of his prowess, King will succeed whether that be at the professional football level or in whatever path he decides - even if it ends up being the coaching route in the longterm.

Draft Night Projection: (UDFA)

UDFA to Washington Commanders: The Commanders are a wreck across the board. King could come in and help not only as a QB/WR and Special Teams asset, but he will bring the right attitude to the program. Teams may want to invest in King early so they can have the right of first refusal should he become a coach in the long-term.