Tight end new king of receivers at Robert Morris
Robert Morris University tight end Shadrae King, a McKeesport High graduate, holds the Colonials' career reception record.
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As a senior at McKeesport High School, there were some things Shadrae King did not know about Robert Morris University.
He didn't know the school had a campus in Moon. He didn't know that Colonials coach Joe Walton is a master at getting the football to his tight ends. And he didn't know that he would one day becomes Robert Morris' all-time leading receiver.
"It's a blessing that I'm here and doing the things I'm doing," King said Wednesday prior to practice.
He hauled in nine passes, which tied his single-game high, for 104 yards and two touchdowns a week ago in helping Robert Morris win at Monmouth in Northeast Conference action. Along the way, King broke two school records.
He now has 115 career receptions, breaking the old mark of 112 set by wide receiver Tyjuan Massey, who played for the Colonials from 2002-05. King has also caught a pass in 23 consecutive games, breaking the mark of 22 set by Opio Gary.
King hopes to add to his totals tonight when Robert Morris (1-4, 1-0 NEC) entertains Saint Francis (1-4, 0-2) at 7 at Joe Walton Stadium.
King has not done badly for a guy who caught all of 10 passes as a high school senior. When King was at McKeesport, the Tigers ran the triple option offense and rarely threw the football. These days, McKeesport has the leading passer in the WPIAL in quarterback Eddie Stockett.
"Sometimes I do think about it, but there's nothing you can do now," King said when asked if he ponders what might have been if McKeesport would have had more of a passing offense when he was in school.
Still, he caught the eye of college coaches with his size -- he is 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds -- and his good hands. He had a number of scholarship offers, but there was a problem.
"I took my SATs the first time, and I didn't do that well, and I took them two more times, and on the third time I was OK for the [NCAA] clearinghouse," he said. "But by then it was the middle of May and no one had a scholarship for me.
"I'm thinking about going to prep school, and then that fell through. At the same time Robert Morris was sending me letters for academics. My mom was like, 'Why don't you just fill out the application and go to school there.'
But I didn't want to go to school in downtown Pittsburgh. That's where I thought [Robert Morris] was at. I didn't know it had a campus.
"And she was like, 'No, no, no, they have a campus in Moon.' My dad emailed the coaches, and we took a ride out here, and that's how it happened."
King wanted to play wide receiver and wasn't thrilled with the move to tight end. The shift came early in training camp his freshman year.
When King was told about Walton's track record of throwing the tight end he decided a change might be for the best.
"I thought to myself, 'This guy has been around the [National Football] League years upon years. He knows what he's talking about,'" King said. "Now, I love playing there. There are still things I need to work on, but I can't see playing somewhere else."
King caught 43 passes for the Colonials last year for 531 yards and seven scores. So far this season, he has 21 catches for 199 yards.
It's interesting that he didn't start playing football until he was in ninth grade. Before that, basketball was his sport.
"I was in gym class, and one of the coaches saw me and asked if I wanted to play for the ninth-grade team," he said. "I guess they liked that I was tall and had good hands from basketball."
Those good hands could earn him a shot to play at the next level. The problem is that he doesn't have the great size NFL coaches covet in a tight end. And he might not be quick enough to play wide receiver. But some team might see him as a slot receiver, a possession guy, and take him to training camp.
"The Lord willing, I hope to get a shot," King said.
Duquesne (4-1) at Albany (2-2), 1 p.m. University Field, Albany, N.Y. -- Both teams are undefeated in the Northeast Conference (Albany is 1-0, Duquesne 2-0). .... The Dukes are fifth in Division I-AA in total offense, averaging 470.8 yards a game. ... Running back Larry McCoy continues to climb Dukes all-time list of rushers. He has 2,793 career yards and needs 395 to catch Mike Hilliard, who is third on the list. ... Albany leads the all-time series 3-1 but the Dukes won last year's contest, 28-17.
Slippery Rock (4-1) at Edinboro (4-1), 2 p.m. Sox Harrison Stadium, Edinboro, Pa. -- The Rock and the Fighting Scots have the two best defenses in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Slippery Rock is holding opponents to just 10.6 points a game; Edinboro to 13 ppg. ... Both teams also have strong ground games. Edinboro is averaging 168 yards a game on the ground, Slippery Rock 164. ... Rock quarterback Cody Endres passed for a season-high 305 yards and three scores in last week's win against Clarion. ... Slippery Rock, which is 2-0 in the PSAC West, leads the all-time series, 46-24-1.
Washington & Jefferson (3-2) at Saint Vincent (2-2), 1 p.m. Chuck Noll Field, Latrobe -- The Bearcats are still searching for a significant victory and come off a 23-20 loss at Geneva in overtime. ... The Presidents are 2-1 and in second place behind Thomas More and Waynesburg in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. ... W&J has never lost in four games against Saint Vincent since the Bearcats revived the varsity football program in 2007.
Ohio Wesleyan (1-4) at Carnegie Mellon (3-2), 6 p.m. Gesling Stadium -- The Tartans have won their last two games and are two wins away for No. 500 in school history. ... CMU running back Chris Garcia, a senior, needs 41 yards to move into 13th place on the school's all-time rushing list. ... CMU holds a 6-2 edge in the all-time series with the Battling Bishops.
First Published October 8, 2011 12:00 am