NFL Draft Q&A: Army linebacker Andrew King
Our NFL Draft Q&A series continues with Army linebacker Andrew King, a Queens Village native who chose West Point after seeing his father Rhonny risk his life as a first responder with the New York Police Department after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He has 27.5 tackles for loss in the last two seasons, and took time to talk with us about his military commitment, his future in football and his role model at linebacker:
Q: It's always impressive when draft prospects are still taking classes in the spring, but you have a class in less than an hour.
A: "Yes, sir. I graduate in May. I'm a law major, but everyone at West Point has an engineering degree, so I'll have a bachelor of science in engineering. If I don't get picked up by a team, I'll be in the Army for five years, and after that, definitely law school is an option for me."
Q: What are you doing to train for your pro day this spring?
A: "I work out every day with my strength coaches here. They have me on a strict program. I follow their guidance, work on the drills they have set up, and I continue to lift heavy and eat right."
Q: What was the Shrine Game like for you, coming down to St. Petersburg and having a chance to showcase yourself?
A: "It was a great experience. The practices, getting coached by NFL coaches, to see their expectations of practice and the effort you have to put in. It was a great time, and being around such tremendous players was great. There's not a lot of coaching on the field -- that's all in film and what the coaches want to see at practice is you execute over and over again."
Q: You're listed at 6 feet, 246 pounds. Which linebacker spots are the most natural fit for you?
A: "I played Mike (middle linebacker) in a 3-4 predominantly. In the All-Star game, we were running a 4-3 and I was a Sam (strongside) and Will (weakside). Pretty much the same coverage concepts with a different front, so it wasn't too hard to transition."
Q: How much more prepared do you feel you are after your time at West Point?
A: "I'm definitely well-prepared. This process at West Point, and to play Division I football coming from the academy, it teaches you a lot. You definitely go through a lot of adversity. You challenge yourself, physically and mentally, and you become more of a leader going to a place like West Point. I think that's what I bring to the table, first and foremost if I have the opportunity to be in the NFL, is the leadership aspect and the never-quit attitude. I think that would be very valuable to an organization."
Q: I really enjoyed the story you wrote in December for The Players' Tribune, talking about losing one of your teammates, Brandon Jackson, in a car accident. You wrote about your father, and the decision to go to West Point. When did you know that was where you wanted to be?
A: "They offered me at the beginning of January of my senior year. I took a visit there at the end of January. As soon as I got there, saw the environment, what they had to offer, I knew that's where I wanted to be. Just having an opportunity to serve my country, that's a blessing to be able to fortunate enough to have that position. It wasn't a hard choice for me."
Q: Your prep school year at West Point, you played lacrosse. What was that like?
A: "When I lived in Long Island, I played lacrosse from third grade up until ninth. When I moved to the city, my high school didn't have a lacrosse team. So it was great to be back out there, running around and hitting people."
Q: Who's the best player you went up against in college?
A: "A lot of great players, but this year, DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame. I saw him make some throws that I thought were physically impossible. One play, he was going down, there were two guys on him, and he made a side-arm throw almost on his knee, a 20-yard completion. To see him be able to do that, he was the best college player I played against."
Q: Along the same lines, who was the best teammate you played with?
A: "I don't single one guy out, but I think playing alongside Jeremy Timpf the last three years was definitely great. He made a lot of plays for us, hard worker and a leader on the team. Without him, I don't think we'd have the same success we had this year."
Q: Is there an NFL linebacker you like to watch or pattern your game after?
A: "From a legends standpoint, Ray Lewis, definitely. He was a beast on the field. The work he put in and preparation is definitely admirable. For me, personally, it's (Bengals LB Vincent) Vinny Rey. He grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens. My high school coach coached him. I met him a couple summers ago, and I keep in contact with him. The way he worked through being undrafted, special-teams player became a special-teams captain and getting an enormous amount of reps now. It's amazing to see that transition and look up to him and look toward him as a mentor to help me at the next level."
Q: Are there NFL teams that have shown more interest than others so far?
A: "I don't think there's a team that's shown more interest than others. I've been in contact with the Jets. They came up to my school at practice this past year. I talked to the Falcons at East-West Shrine Game and the rest is just the same amount of interest."
Q: So if I'm around West Point, what's your best food recommendation?
A: "I guess The Thayer Hotel. They have a great, great brunch every Sunday, the best food around here. It's a decent price. They make this apple cinnamon ... I don't even know what to call it, but they put it on top of waffles."
Q: What's next for you as you prepare for the draft?
A: "I'm waiting on the last wave of combine invites to Indy, and if not, my pro day is March 9, so I'm working toward that. It's pretty early compared to other schools, but that's what I'm basing my training off of."