ATHENS -- On the night before some games this season, as Tavarres King and A.J. Green sat in their hotel room, they put on their own talk show for the web: King, the more loquacious of the two, played the lead role while Green was his sidekick.
“He’s a people person, and I’m more calm, reserved,” Green said. “He talks to a lot of people.”
On the field, it’s King who has been the sidekick to Green. If Green turns pro, as most expect, someone needs to take that go-to-receiver role, and it may be King.
The sophomore from Mount Airy was expected to begin this season as the No. 2 receiver, opposite his talk-show partner. But when Green missed the first four games of the season, it was senior Kris Durham who took the leading role.
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When Green returned, Durham remained a focal point and King’s opportunities were sporadic. Still, King managed to put up decent numbers: 23 catches for 471 yards and three touchdowns.
Even though he started nine games in 2009 as a redshirt freshman, King viewed this as a more successful season, at least in terms of fundamentals.
“I’m still growing,” King said. “Last year was my first full season. Made a couple plays, left a lot of plays on the field. This year I tried to eliminate dropped passes and things like that. I feel like I did a decent job of that. It’s all a growing process, and I feel like I’m growing each and every year, so I’m looking forward to growing next year.”
The 6-foot-1 King is known as a downfield threat, thanks to his speed. He bristles a bit at that stereotype, saying his game is versatile, but he also knows that with Durham and Green (presumably) gone, the Bulldogs will need someone to catch the long balls.
“I don’t know what (Green’s) plans are. So it really hasn’t crossed my mind until now,” King said. “But I feel like I can be the go-to guy, the marquee guy for this offense. I want to sit down with the coaches and figure out how I can help this team a little more, and help us get back on the map.”
So if not King, then who?
There are other candidates: Rantavious Wooten and Logan Gray for speed, Marlon Brown for size, among others. Freshman Michael Bennett, who redshirted this year, has also drawn raves.
“If I decide to leave, I believe it’s gonna be another strong group -- Wooten and Marlon, the young guys, and T.K. stepping up to be one of the leaders and probably one of the best receivers,” Green said.
Cornerback Brandon Boykin has gone up against King the past three years, including King’s redshirt season in 2008. Asked to put on his analyst cap, Boykin said King’s improvement in strength training stood out the most.
“You can see his body definitely change from his freshman year till now,” Boykin said. “His route running as well. He probably doesn’t get the credit he should, because we’ve got somebody like A.J. on the team. But I feel like when it’s his time to take over he’ll be ready.”