King Goes In-Depth w/ Dawg Post

King Goes In-Depth w/ Dawg Post

ATHENS - Tavarres King gets real in this in-depth Q&A, touching on his career, his family and more.

Tavarres King tweets. A lot. And his account, @TKUnoDos, isn't locked down with any privacy stipulations, so clearly he wants you to read what he's thinking, doing and saying on a constant basis.

He's created his own self-promoting hashtag – #TeamTK – but he somehow works that into his daily posts without coming off as conceded or arrogant. Mostly he says things like this: "Ima eat me some Key Lime Pie and watch movie!" But don't be fooled, King is well rounded, evidenced by tweets like this one: "Who understands stocks? Anyone? I'm interested if so."

With nearly 12,000 tweets to his credit, we at Dawg Post figured we'd make it easy on the senior wideout by sitting down for an extended interview to get everything out there in the open, without the limitations that come with the 140 character count that Twitter mandates.

           

It kind of feels like you've been at Georgia forever. Does it feel like that to you?

It does, dude. I think me and (running back) Richard Samuel have been here the longest. It feels like it's been six or seven years. I know the town; I know everybody, and everybody knows who I am. It's crazy.

You've been through quite a few team scenarios. When you arrived in 2008, the team was a preseason No. 1 pick. You went through the losing season of 2010. And you went to the SEC Championship last season. Have the ups and downs taught you anything?

It's really been a roller coaster, an emotional roller coaster. I mean I came in preseason No. 1. That was probably an all-time high here for everybody. We had a decent season, but when you're ranked that high, it's not what you want. Then we went on that losing streak in 2010. It's been a very emotional roller coaster for me. There've been a lot of highs and a lot of lows. Right now, I feel like we're on a high point, so it's good.

What was your best moment?

I think winning the SEC East last year and rattling off those 10 wins in a row was awesome, man. It was something neat to experience.

Was there anything worse than the loss in the Liberty Bowl in 2010?

Nah, nah. That season alone was just terrible. I feel like it was a learning experience. It's something I don't want to experience again. I feel like if you were a part of that team you work harder than you ever did to not experience that again. If you were a part of that, then you know what it's like to have those fingers pointed at you in a negative light. You don't want that.

When you look back on yourself as a freshman in 2008, what do you wish you could tell that person now from all the experience you've gained?

I honestly think I would have told myself to have more confidence in your game. That's key in this league. That's key in life, confidence.

What do you think makes it so hard to have that confidence?

I think it's just a slap in the face. You go from being one of the best at your position in the nation or in the state at your school – you go from being the best to everybody being equally talented, to everybody having that chip on their shoulder. It's kind of like a slap in the face or an eye-opening experience to come here and be somebody that's just a guy. I came in with A.J. Green, who was the best receiver I've ever seen. That's kind of like, man, I've got some work to do.

How big was the birth of your daughter (in the summer of 2009), in terms of changing your outlook or perception?

It's huge, really huge. I feel like I've had a lot of eye-opening experiences. That one was the biggest. I think the birth of Mckenzie at that point in my life--I was just like--I've got to get it. I'm working for something much more than me. I've got to get it. Like I said, it's something I've got to do. I've got to go out everyday and give it my best because I've got to go, but I know if I do what I can do and what I need to do, she'll be set for life.

Does she know that you're important? Does she know that you're this football player that people know and follow?

I think she kind of does. When she was a little younger, probably two-and-a-half, she'd ask my mom when we were places, ‘Why does everybody keep taking pictures with my dad?' Yeah, I think she knows now. She understands.

Is it cool to have somebody like her that doesn't care what you do or how you play?

Certainly, certainly. To her I'm just a goofy guy that plays with her. I'm just daddy, you know.



Click the image above to see pictures of King through the years. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post) On an iPhone? Click here to see the images.


How difficult would it have been if you didn't have your family, your mom, step dad, sisters, everybody helping you out?

You know, I'm blessed. I'm extremely blessed to have everybody that I have in my corner. My mom is phenomenal. My mom does a lot--and my step dad. They do a lot for McKenzie. They've always been like that. I've had a tremendous upbringing. They do a lot. It would have been extremely hard to do it without them, even my sisters, man. If McKenzie needs something and my parents aren't around, if they're on vacation or something, and McKenzie needs to be somewhere or needs something done, they do it. If I can't be there, it's just awesome. I've got a lot of people in my corner that has my back.

It seems like you've got, maybe not a lot of different circles, but all kinds of different people as friends. You've got white friends, black friends, friends on the football team, friends that play other sports or don't play sports at all. Why is that? Why do you people like you?

That's a good question, dude. I don't know. I'm very outspoken. I like to have fun. I like to joke with people. I mess with anyone. I'll walk down Lumpkin Street and see somebody and say something to them. I'm just that kind of person. I'll talk to anybody. If I see something that intrigues me, you know, I'm not afraid to just – if somebody has a cool shirt on, I'll say it's a cool shirt. Just something like that. I love meeting people. I love networking. I love Athens. I mean, I do. I feel like Athens loves me back.

Who is your best friend?

I'd probably have to say (former center) Ben Jones and (current receiver) Rhett McGowen. Rhett came in and, like I said, I just started messing with him. I knew his sister. His sister went here. I knew her, so I just started messing with him. I actually was calling him by (his sister's name). We hit it off. We're very similar from similar upbringings. He has two older sisters. So do I, so it's pretty similar.

What was it about Ben? He gets along with everybody, but how did you two become so close?

He's kind of a big brother. If anything ever happened, even on the field at practice, if somebody was scuffling, he'd come over and be like, boom, and knock them out of the way. They weren't messing with me. As soon as we got here, we just hit it off, me and him. We've been the best of friends ever since. I've talked to him every week since he's been gone (drafted by the Houston Texans in April's NFL Draft). He's just a great dude, really.

(Senior safety) Shawn Williams told me that if he could pick one player for an incoming freshman to model themselves after, he'd pick you. Why do you think he said that?

I don't know. I just try to do everything right. I really do. I just try to model the way, just show them what it's like. I had a great role model when I came in with Mohamed Massaquoi. Mo was tremendous, man. I still ask Mo for advice weekly. If I'm having a rough time, I go to Mo and ask him for a pick me up. I bet Shawn said that because I just try to do everything right. I attend everything. I've graduated and I'm still going to class. I just try to do everything right.

Are you going to grad school?

No, I'm not. I'm just focusing on football. I'm taking a few classes, a few business classes. Just seeing what the corporate world is like. Just taking a few classes and really focusing on football, just trying to get it in everyday and focus more.

What is football to you? Is football a game, or a passion or something you're good at? How would you describe it?

It's my passion, man. It's something I love to do. Growing up I thought I was going to be a basketball player, and then I came to a camp here, and I thought I was good, and I figured out I was pretty good at football. From there it just took off. I love the game, love everything about it. I could talk about football all day long. It's my everything. It's my passion. It's something I see myself wanting to do for a long time, God willing. Hopefully I can do that.

Do you think about the NFL?

Certainly. Certainly, man. That's been my goal since I started playing football, to make it to that level, and to not just make it to that level, but to be special there.

Is it weird to be this close? You're less than a year away from taking that step in your career.

That's crazy, crazy to think about. Time has flown by. When I came in, I never thought it would go by this fast, but really I'm six months away from the doors closing on my time here. It's crazy.

Do you think your Georgia career ending will be hard on you?

Certainly. Sometimes I sit back and say to myself it's about over. You know, in those moments I find something to be happy about. I tell myself there's no place I'd rather be than right here. I smile and let myself know that I'm very fortunate to have had the time I've had here.

Do you think about your legacy or how people might remember you?

Uh, yeah, I do. I wonder what people will think about me, or what they do think about me when they hear my name. Hopefully it's good things; hopefully it's something that I'll be proud about.

Obviously you're on Twitter. I know you hashtag about yourself and post videos. Is Twitter fun for you, or do you think about developing your own brand, creating your own image?

I tweet pretty personal things, I think. I feel like Twitter is a gateway for people to get to know me. Everything I put on Twitter – my Twitter is not private or anything. If you want to look at it, go ahead. It's for the public eye. I don't say anything bad on Twitter. I feel like everything I say on Twitter is me.

Do you ever see some of the things your teammates tweet and cringe?

Yeah I do. I'll be like, ‘Dang, did he really just write that?' It's funny. Hopefully theirs are private. Mine is not private at all, so I don't say anything too bad on there, I don't think.

Changing the subject, does it piss you off that (Tennessee receiver) Da'Rick Rogers broke your state high school record for receiving yards in a season?

Nah. I like Da'Rick. He's from Calhoun and Rhett's from Calhoun, so I like him a lot. I think he's a good guy. I think he's got tremendous talent. It doesn't make me mad at all.

Was it something that you were really proud of?

Yeah, certainly. I think Jay Rome's dad (Stan) had it before me. It got broke two years after. It was something I was proud of. I'm still up there, second or third I think.

Bouncing back to college, how fun is it to be a UGA football player living in Athens?

It's extremely fun, man. Like I said, I love this town. I feel like the town loves us. It's awesome, especially when things are going good. It's a fun place to be. My teammates are hilarious. I tell my mom and parents everyday, I love my team. There's not a day I don't bust out laughing at one of them. It's fun, man. It's a fun place to be. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

You set the school record for receiving yards in a game (205) in the Outback Bowl last year. Did you realize that at the time?

After the game I did. During the game Orson Charles came up to me and said, ‘Ohhhhh.' I was like what's up? He said, ‘You've got three catches for, like, one-something.' I wasn't even thinking about it. I was like, ‘Damn, I do.' It didn't even hit me until after the game. I was so pissed off about losing that I didn't care.

How close are you and Aaron Murray, in terms of on-the-field chemistry?

Pretty close, man. We get after it daily. For real, we get after it daily. I think we just try to connect and be on the same level, have some brainwaves going. I feel like that's what you need. I feel like that's what he needs from a No. 1 receiver, somebody that he can trust and go to and be on the same level as him. Last year, i.e., the bowl game, two plays come to mind where we weren't clicking. That's something we've got to get better at, so that's something that we've talked about and are getting better at.

What it like being in the huddle with Aaron?

It's fun. He's a cool and calm guy. He knows what everybody is doing. If somebody has a question, he can answer it right there. He'll say the play, and if somebody has a question he'll answer it. It's neat. He always assures that he's ready to roll, and he takes some of the jitters out of those young guys. That's what I try to do, too. I try to be funny. If you're nervous, you shouldn't be. It's what you do. You play ball man. I feel like Aaron's the same way, man. You try to take the nerves out and have fun.

This year, your team is expected to be in contention to win the SEC and potentially be in the national title discussion. Does anything feel different to you right now, heading into this season?

Nothing is different. I think the only thing that is different would be that we know how to prepare to get to that game, to get to the SEC Championship. I think that we know how to prepare to get there. I think we ratcheted the level of our, what's the word I'm looking for, focus and attentiveness and passion. I feel like everybody is a little hungrier, there we go, to not only get there, but to win it.

Sometimes, you can tell when a team is ready to win on a big stage. It's something you can see. Do you think losing last year's SEC Championship game, while it wasn't a good thing in the moment, could have prepared you for this season?

Yeah, certainly, I think that sometimes you need stuff like that. You need things like that to happen to you. You need to lose sometimes to get that grit about you, to tell yourself that it ain't happening again. We might have needed that, because we work. We work hard, but I feel like now we know we need to work a little harder. We need to do something a little better. I watched that SEC Championship game, and I just shake my head. So many opportunities were there that weren't taken advantage of. You can't dwell on it, but it's something to learn.

You had a dropped touchdown pass in that game. Was it a drop or…

It was a drop. If it hits my hands, I've got to come down with it.

Do you think about those kinds of things, like how many times it's happened to you or what you can take away from it?

Certainly I do. I think about it. I feel like my two worst games in my career were in the Georgia Dome – Boise State and in the SEC Championship. It's nothing to dwell on. You don't think about it too much, but you know that those types of things can't happen. After both of those games, who did I turn to? Mohamed. He's always somebody that's very positive. He's just lifts me up, man. He's somebody that I always turn to, and he tells me not to worry about it. Everybody drops balls; everybody makes mistakes. It's definitely something you think about, but not anymore I don't think about it. The past is the past.

When you're done playing football, whenever that is, what do you think you'll be doing?

Well my degree is in social studies education, so I would love to teach and probably coach somewhere. I want to stay close to the game because I love it. When it's all said and done, I'd love to still be around the game in some kind of way, whether it is coaching or training receivers or something like that. I want to be around the game.

Do you think you have the ability to be a head coach one day?

Certainly, I think I do. I feel like I've had great head coaches in my high school coach (Gene Cathcart) and coach (Mark) Richt. I feel like I've had great model leaders to show me what it takes to be a good coach.

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