Muskegon had a great 2012 campaign, reaching the state title game and falling in a classic against Brother Rice. With many key players graduating, the Big Reds will have to lean on a couple of standout juniors to lead the young players, including 6'4, 285-lb offensive lineman Malik King.
"We're going to lose lot of people," he said. "I'm the only returning starter on offense, so it's going to be a pretty big transition losing star players like Jalen [Smith], John [King], and Marcus [Smith], but hopefully we can get back there."
He may be the only guy back on the offensive line, but his position coach is happy to have such a talented player to build around.
"He is the most athletic offensive lineman I have coached," Big Reds offensive line coach Matt Bolles said. "He is also very physical and is a great puller in our trap game. Malik is a great kid who has only started to tape into his potential."
Schools have noticed his talent. Among the schools interested are Iowa, who has offered a game visit, Syracuse, East Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, and more. Of course, the in-state Big Ten programs are interested as well.
"I have not gone on any visits, but Michigan came up to see me and Kenny [Finley] but we were in class, but they talked to our coaches. I went to Michigan State for camp. I was the only underclassman to get honorable mention. I ended up playing defensive line."
King played guard last year, will be moving to right tackle next year, and is more than willing to play defense as well. He started off as a defensive end and is likely to be the starter there next year. He believes the ability to go both ways will help him in his recruitment.
What also will help him is his work ethic. Knowing that his team is counting on him, King has literally hit the ground running to start the offseason.
"I'm working out. I run every day. It's a lot of pressure being an underclassman, and everyone on offense was seniors, now you're running the whole thing. It's pressure, but I'm adjusting to it. I'm ready to take responsibility."