Texas A&M football: Looking ahead, Aggies have bright future with Haynes King
Things didn’t go as planned this past week for many teams, including Texas A&M.
The Aggies were scheduled to play Tennessee on Saturday, but that game was postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests in Texas A&M’s program. It was 1 of 4 SEC games that were rescheduled this week, including Alabama-LSU.
Jimbo Fisher and his players will spend their weekend isolated at home, watching the action and hoping they don’t fall in the polls as a result of their inactivity. The Aggies are No. 5 in the country, but their game against Ole Miss on Nov. 21 is also in jeopardy. Playing a full 10-game schedule is not an imperative to A&M’s College Football Playoff hopes, but it would certainly help.
With the extra time on our hands, now seems as good a time as any to assess the Aggies’ future as we wait for things to play out.
Kellen Mond has been playing the best football of his college career and is a big reason the Aggies are a contender. But he is a senior, and unless he uses the extra year of eligibility granted to all players by the NCAA, he won’t be the starter next season. Enter freshman Haynes King.
King has already played at the end of a couple of blowouts, and he seems secure at No. 2 on the depth chart. The 1st drive of his career came against Alabama; he rushed for 43 yards before throwing an interception in the end zone.
King made up for the pick against South Carolina when he threw his first career touchdown pass.
I had the pleasure of covering King during his junior season of high school in Longview, Texas. He led the Lobos to their first state championship in 81 years that season, a classic 35-34 victory against Beaumont West Brook. To add to the lore, his father, John King, is Longview’s coach.
King threw for 423 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the victory. He added 65 yards and another score on the ground to earn Offensive MVP honors in the championship game.
“It was the greatest moment of my coaching career,” John King said. “Not only between he and I, but all of his buddies that he had grown up with playing Pee Wee ball and their parents that we had relationships with. Seeing those kids go from 3rd grade to winning the state championship was unbelievable.
“Haynes told me he was going to win a state championship, and I had given him hell ever since he started football because I won one in high school and I know how special those are. I was always prodding him to get that fire burning in his belly. He backed it up and played the best in the biggest moment of his high school career. He didn’t do it for himself. He did it for the whole town of Longview.”
King showed an interest in his dad’s profession from a young age. As a toddler, he wore full pads to all Longview games. Often times, the evening would end with King falling asleep without having ever taken them off.
“There’s a lot of things he was privy to being my son,” John King said. “It was something I never pushed on him. He grew up in the field house, which is another unique situation. He’s always loved the game of football.”
King finished his high school career as Longview’s all-time leader in both passing yards (8,396) and passing touchdowns (86). He was rated the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2020, according to 247Sports.
But football wasn’t the only sport for King. He also played basketball and ran track, where he got to show off the speed that makes him such a dangerous player and his arm strength in the discus throw.
King has always shied from the spotlight, preferring to lead through action rather than words. However, to question his leadership ability would be a mistake. His easygoing personality enabled him to get along with most everyone on the team.
“There’s times you could be in a room and not even know he’s there,” John King said. “He’s always been quiet and mild-mannered. But he’s got that ability to get along and develop a relationship with anyone. He doesn’t need life in the fast lane. He’s happy with the simplest things.”
There is a lot to be excited for with King. He also has a pair of receivers in Demond Demas and Moose Muhammad III who could be prime targets throughout his career.
He realizes this opportunity is more than about football, though. He is studying business and will have already completed 80 hours after this semester thanks to concurrent enrollment classes he took in high school. He did so intentionally to give himself more time to focus on football later in his college career.
“At the college level, football is a job,” John King said. “You gotta put in the time. But there’s gonna be more to it when it’s over. ‘Don’t bring your ass home ’til you get a degree,’ is what I told him.”