The Pittsburgh Steelers had Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King in for a pre draft visit several days ago, and once again, our scouting buddy Dave-Te\’ Thomas was kind enough to give us his detailed scouting report profile on him, which you can read below.
University of Georgia Bulldogs
Mount Airy, Georgia
Habersham Central High School
The Bulldogs football team featured some of the elite defensive players in college over the last few years, overshadowing a consistent, yet unspectacular offense under the guidance of quarterback Aaron Murray. The receiving unit lost a great leader when A.J. Green left for the Cincinnati Bengals and the staff was looking for someone to fill the void. Their heavy recruitment yielded five-star prospect Malcolm Mitchell, but the tremendous athlete has yet to fill the promise expected from him when he first put on the Bulldogs’ uniform two seasons ago.
Known more for his leadership-by-example approach in the locker room and on the field, King has become the role model the coaches want the inexperienced receivers to emulate. Since taking over full-time duties at flanker after the 2010 campaign as an understudy, the senior helped Georgia go from 56th in the nation in total offense during his sophomore season (385.00 ypg), to a climb to 39th in 2011 (408.50 ypg) and then finish 22nd with an average of 467.64 yards per game in a 2012 campaign that many feel fell one game shy of earning the Bulldogs a national championship game berth.
Murray soon found that in King, he had a classic “chain mover” over the middle of the field, a nimble athlete who excelled at keeping his feet when working the boundaries and sidelines, and a deep threat whose acceleration, balance and reliable hands saw him make some acrobatic catches that brought Georgia fans to their feet regularly.
What has impressed professional scouts the last two seasons has been King’s ability to “sell the route,” as the savvy runner is quick to execute head and shoulder fakes, along with double moves while demonstrating above average lateral agility to force his coverage assignments to come out of their backpedals too early. With his second gear, few of the elite Southeastern Conference cornerbacks have had much success defending vs. him once he attacks the deep portion of the field.
King looks very fluid running those deep patterns, appearing very comfortable looking the ball in and securing it when catching the ball over his outside shoulder. He worked hard during the 2012 offseason to improve two areas of his game that needed work during his junior campaign – improving his chemistry with his quarterback; and not using his body to absorb the ball in.
As a senior, King’s synchronicity with Aaron Murray resulted in that tandem connecting nine times of deep tosses into the end zone. He also showed renewed vigor in attacking the ball in flight and not letting the pigskin into his pads as much as he did the previous season, resulting in just a minimal amount of dropped balls (problem in the past).
What makes King a valid vertical threat is his escape-ability, as he made quite a habit of exploding down field to get under the poorly thrown nine-routes. He also had very good success utilizing his straight-line speed and acceleration to get over the top of man coverage in an instant. That ability saw King score seventeen times during the last two years, after finding the end zone just four times combines as a freshman and sophomore.
King’s 21 touchdowns as a Bulldog rank third on the school career-record list, thanks to nine scoring grabs as a senior that placed tied for third on UGA’s annual record chart. Along the way, he amassed 2,602 receiving yards, fourth-best ever by a Bulldog. His 950 yards as a pass catcher in 2012 rank fourth on the school season-record list, while his average of 19.13 yards per reception is the best figure for any active player in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks.
King was a four-star prospect during his playing days at Habersham Central High School in Mount Airy, Georgia. Much like his career at the University of Georgia, King’s steady play had him “flying under the radar” until his final campaign. As a sophomore, he had 40 receptions for 667 yards, finding the end zone nine times. He was named to the Class AAAA All-State squad after piling up 1,000 yards with fourteen touchdowns on just 40 more receptions (25.00 ypc) during the 2006 campaign. He also returned a kickoff for a score and also had a punt return for a touchdown as a junior.
As a senior, King went on to establish state records, as he snatched 99 passes for 1,632 yards (16.48 ypc) and seventeen touchdowns, earning Gatorade Georgia Football Player of the Year honors. Rated the 15th-best receiver in the nation by Rivals.com, postseason honors flooded into the King household in 2007. He added Super Prep All-American and All-Dixie honors and was a member of the Prep Star Top 135 Dream Team. Scout.com rated him the eighth-best player in the state of Georgia and the nation’s 22nd-best receiver.
King also received 2007 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 and Super Southern 100 accolades, including walking home with that news service’s Class AAAA Offensive Player of the Year Award. He was also named the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAA Offensive Player of the Year and to the Macon Telegraph Top 50 squad. He would close out his four-year career with 207 catches for 3,726 yards and 37 touchdowns.
King graduated from high school early and enrolled at the University of Georgia in January, 2008, turning down other scholarship offers from Florida and Georgia Tech. He saw limited action in the Bulldogs’ first four games, catching two passes for 66 yards, including a 41-yarder vs. Arizona State, but the Georgia Director\’s Honor Roll member suffered a season-ending ankle injury vs. the Sun Devils, resulting in King receiving a medical hardship.
He would return to start nine games at split end during the 2009 season, but was just an afterthought in the offensive scheme, finishing with 377 yards and a touchdown on eighteen catches (20.94 ypc), ranking fourth on the team. He would share split end duties with Kris Dunham in 2010, starting five times after returning from a suspension that forced him to miss the season opener. He ranked third on the squad with 27 grabs for 504 yards (18.67 ypc), getting to the end zone three times.
King took over the leadership role in the receiving unit in 2011, as he shifted to flanker to start thirteen times. He paced the Bulldogs and ranked eighth in the league, as the second-team All-Southeastern Conference choice was credited with a career-high 47 receptions for 705 yards (15.00 ypc). His eight scoring grabs rank seventh on the school season-record chart.
The Biletnikoff Award candidate and first-team All-SEC pick started twelve times at flanker during his final season with the Bulldogs. He again led the squad with 42 catches, gaining 950 yards with nine touchdowns. Five of his scoring grabs were for distances of 40 yards or longer, including a 75-yarder that sparked a Bulldogs rally over Nebraska for a Capital One Bowl victory in his final collegiate appearance.
King would later accept an invitation to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl. Throughout the week-long practices, King shined over the other receivers in attendance for the South squad. Many of those scouts watching the scrimmages noted that the receiver had demonstrated great lateral agility and acceleration.
The South team was coached by the Detroit Lions staff and their receivers coach, Tim Lappano, pushed his new pupils but was impressed by King’s effort and talent. What the coach was seeing in the Georgia product was a player who possessed great stop-start-go elusiveness to consistently make defenders miss and enough straight-line speed to beat them over the top.
King’s fluidity during drills early in practice was also impressive, as he showed the foot quickness and balance to chop his feet and turn quickly. He was also the best at getting off press coverage, something that many of the South receivers struggled to do.
King started 39-of-56 games he played in during his five-year career at Georgia – 25 as a flanker and fourteen at split end…Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, he led that group with an average of 19.13 yards per reception, placed 17th with 2,602 receiving yards and tied Conner Vernon of Duke for 19th with 21 touchdown grabs…Made 136 catches, as his 2,602 aerial yards rank fourth in school history, surpassed by Terrence Edwards (Southeastern Conference record 3,093; 1999-2002), Fred Gibson (2,884; 2001-04) and A.J. Green (2,619; 2008-10)…His yardage total rank second among active SEC players (Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas has 2,854)…King’s 21 touchdown receptions also rank second among active conference participants (Chad Bumphis of Mississippi State has 24) and placed third on the school all-time record chart behind Terrence Edwards (30) and A.J. Green (23)…Scored 128 points as a Bulldog, as he also recorded three tackles (2 solos) and rushed three times for five yards.
The team offensive co-captain received All-American Super Sleeper Team and All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting service also regards King as the most underrated offensive player in the league…The senior played in all fourteen games at flanker, starting all but the Mississippi and Tennessee contests…Led the Bulldogs for the second consecutive season, as the
Biletnikoff Award and CFPA Offensive Award candidate snatched 42 passes for 950 yards (22.62 ypc) and nine touchdowns…The recipient of the Leon Farmer Athletic Scholarship and the Mobley Family Football Scholarship placed fourth on the school season-record list with his 950 yards, topped by Terrence Edwards (1,004 in 2002), Brice Hunte (970 in 1993) and A.J. Green (963 in 2008)…His yards-per-reception average is the sixth-highest in a season by a Bulldog, and was the best mark by any NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision starting receiver during the 2012 campaign…His nine touchdown catches tied A.J. Green (2010), Terrence Edwards (1999), Brice Hunter (1993) and Hason Graham (1994) for second on the school season-record chart, surpassed by only Terrence Edward’s eleven scores in 2002…Produced four 100-yard receiving performances and had five touchdown grabs for distances of at least 40 yards…opened the season with six receptions for 117 yards and a 63-yard score vs. Buffalo and was named CFPA National Wide Receiver of the Week after he totaled a career-best 188 yards on nine grabs with two touchdowns, including a 66-yarder vs. Kentucky….Pulled down a sensational 40-yard toss from Aaron Murray in the corner of the end zone for six points vs. Mississippi and had another long scoring catch from 43 yards away vs. Georgia Southern…Was the team’s lone bright spot on offense in a 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SZEC title clash, as he snared five balls for 142 yards while matched vs. All-American cornerback Dee Milliner…King would then close out his career with his second-longest reception as a Bulldog, scoring on a 75-yard pass play while catching three tosses for 104 yards vs. Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
The recipient of the Leon Farmer Athletic Scholarship, King earned Georgia Athletic Director\’s Honor Roll distinction for the fall semester…Shifted to flanker, appearing in all fourteen games, starting thirteen contests (all but vs. Kentucky)…Led the team with a career-high 47 receptions, good for 705 yards (15.00 ypc), as his eight touchdowns rank seventh on the school season-record chart…Also carried twice for five yards…King did not record a 100-yard receiving performance until the post-season, but he scored on a 33-yard grab with 2:15 left in the South Carolina clash…Followed with six catches for 65 yards that included touchdowns of one and 32 yards vs. Coastal Carolina…Went up and over two defenders to pull in a 20-yard scoring toss, gaining 57 yards on five catches vs. Vanderbilt…His 14-yard touchdown catch was the go-ahead score in a 24-20 decision over Florida…His 3-yard scoring snatch spark a 14-point third quarter rally, as he made four grabs for 54 yards in a 31-17 defeat of Georgia Tech…Set school postseason and Outback Bowl records, as King exploded for 205 yards on six receptions that included a career-long 80-yard touchdown vs. Michigan State…His 205 yards not only shattered the old Bulldog bowl record of 156 by Larry Bowie in the 1995 Peach Bowl, but also set the school record for all games, as he joined Fred Gibson (201 vs. Kentucky in 2001) as the only Georgia players to ever gain 200 receiving yards in a contest…His 80-yard touchdown topped the previous school bowl mark of 67 yards, a toss from Charley Trippi to Dan Edwards in the 1947 Sugar Bowl.
King earned Georgia Athletic Director\’s Honor Roll distinction for the spring semester…
Was suspended for the season opener vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (was arrested for underage possession of alcohol while driving in car with teammate Dontavius Jackson, who was charged with DUI), but returned to play in the final twelve contests…Shared split end duties with Kris Dunham, starting five times while finishing third on the team with 27 receptions for 504 yards (18.67 ypc) and three touchdowns…Also recorded a solo tackle in the Florida clash, a game where he came up with three receptions for 104 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown vs. the Gators…Had four catches for 91 yards and a score vs. Arkansas and another four grabs for 70 yards vs. Vanderbilt…Gained 79 yards on two snatches that included a 40-yard touchdown vs. Mississippi State.
The recipient of the Jack Davis Honorary Football Scholarship, King earned one of team\’s Newcomer of the Year awards for offense, as he appeared in twelve games with nine starts at split end…Ranked fourth on the team with eighteen receptions for 377 yards (20.94 ypc)…Posted a season-best and team-high 109 yards on three receptions vs. Kentucky…
Caught two passes for 64 yards including a 50-yard touchdown, the first of his career, vs. Arkansas.
King graduated early from high school and enrolled at the University of Georgia in January…Was named to the Georgia Director\’s Honor Roll for the fall 2008 semester…Saw limited action in the team’s first four games before being granted a medical hardship when he severely injured his ankle vs. Arizona State…Had a 41-yard reception vs. the Sun Devils before getting hurt and also snared a 25-yarder in the Central Michigan clash.
2008 Season…King was granted a medical hardship after suffering a severe ankle sprain vs. Arizona State (9/20).
4.41 in the 40-yard dash…1.52 10-yard dash…2.49 20-yard dash…4.15 20-yard shuttle…
11.22 60-yard shuttle…6.70 three-cone drill…34-inch vertical jump…9’11” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times…32 5/8-inch arm length…9 3/8-inch hands…78 5/8-inch wingspan.
King attended Habersham Central (Mount Airy, Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Gene Cathcart…As a sophomore, he had 40 receptions for 667 yards, finding the end zone nine times…Named to the Class AAAA All-State squad after piling up 1,000 yards with fourteen touchdowns on just 40 catches (25.00 ypc) during the 2006 campaign…Also returned a kickoff for a score and also had a punt return for a touchdown as a junior…As a senior, King went on to establish state records, as he snatched 99 passes for 1,632 yards (16.48 ypc) and seventeen touchdowns, earning Gatorade Georgia Football Player of the Year honors…Rated the 15th-best receiver in the nation by Rivals.com…Added Super Prep All-American and All-Dixie honors and was a member of the Prep Star Top 135 Dream Team…Scout.com rated him the eighth-best player in the state of Georgia and the nation’s 22nd-best receiver…Received 2007 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 and Super Southern 100 accolades, including walking home with that news service’s Class AAAA Offensive Player of the Year Award…Named the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAA Offensive Player of the Year and to the Macon Telegraph Top 50 squad…Closed out his four-year career with 207 catches for 3,726 yards and 37 touchdowns.
King graduated in May, 2012, with a degree in Social Studies Education…Earned Georgia Athletic Director’s Athletic Honor Roll recognition for each year at the university…Born 7/14/90 in Mount Airy, Georgia.