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Grafton placekicker and punter Reed King displayed patience throughout what he called a “stressful” recruiting process.
On Monday, King’s patience paid off as he verbally committed to play football for Virginia Military Institute, a Division I school that plays in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Schools like VMI that play in the FCS were appealing to King, who was unlikely to receive an athletic scholarship to a larger Division I football team playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision as a kicker and punter. Schools playing FCS football can help athletes out by combining athletic and academic scholarships to cover costs for student-athletes.
VMI coaches called King on Monday evening and told him the school had allotted some athletic scholarship funds for him should he choose to sign with the Keydets. That news pushed King over the edge and he decided to pull the trigger and sign with VMI.
“It’s definitely a big relief,” King said about having his college decision made. “I found a place I’m happy with and a coach that is really happy with me.”
With athletic scholarship money an uncertainty for King early in his recruitment, the Group 4A first-team All-State kicker made finding the right lifestyle and academic fit one of his top priorities.
After taking an official visit to VMI over the weekend, King walked away feeling comfortable with how he would fit in to a non-traditional college campus and experience.
King even went so far as to dispel some of the negative rumors he heard about VMI leading up to his visit.
“One of the misconceptions of VMI is you get yelled at 24/7, but that’s not the case,” he said. “I got to see what it was like inside the barracks, which were pretty comfortable. I don’t see why people complain about those.”
On his official visit, King had the chance to experience some of the more unique aspects of attending a military college. While he partook in the traditional academic and athletic facilities tours, he was also taken to the school’s on-campus firing range for shooting drills.
As it turned out, King’s kicking abilities were not the only thing that impressed the VMI coaches.
“[VMI Head Coach Scott Wachenheim] told me, ‘If you can kick as good as you shoot, we’ll win a lot of games,'” said King, who displayed solid shooting ability despite having little prior shooting experience.
Missing out on more traditional college experiences like attending raucous parties and other freedoms not present at VMI would deter some, King feels like VMI gives him the best opportunity to not only achieve in football but also in life.
“I just really felt academically I could achieve anything I wanted there,” he said. “Nothing in life is going to be easy, but when you go to VMI you don’t go for the partying and playing around — even though those moments do happen — but you go there for the end results. You work hard at VMI for four years to relax for the next 40.”
King will have a brief signing ceremony at Grafton High School on Wednesday.
Correction: VMI’s head football coach has been corrected to Scott Wachenheim.”