After a breakout 2019 season, Keshawn King seemed poised for a very bright future in Blacksburg. However, 2020 saw new faces come in and King take a step back as he slipped down the depth chart behind breakout star Khalil Herbert along with Raheem Blackshear and Jalen Holston.
However, 2021 presented new opportunities with Herbert off to the NFL and an open competition for playing time at the top. While Raheem Blackshear and Jalen Holston have fought their way into that top group as expected, Keshawn King has also been making lots of noise as RBs coach Adam Lechtenberg made clear.
"The guys that started out rotating with the ones; Raheem (Blackshear), Jalen (Holston), and Keshawn (King), have all continued to push each other. We'll continue the next few days with those three competing for the job. At this point, they are all pushing for their own opportunities to play. When we get to the season, opportunities are how you produce. This is a productive position. If you produce, you get more touches and opportunities so they're putting themselves in good position," Lechtenberg said.
One thing that Adam Lechtenberg has known about Keshawn King is that he has loads of big play potential which showed in 2019 when he had 6 games with at least one carry or reception that went for 10+ yards headlined by 135 total yards of offense against Furman and 111 total yards of offense against Georgia Tech.
Now, Lechtenberg is seeing Keshawn King become a more consistent and accountable football player on and off the field helping him take the next steps to reassert himself at the top of Tech's RB group..
"Keshawn is a talented guy. He's always had some big play potential. To me, he's consistent. He's showing up to be more consistent and more accountable on his assignments on and off the field. We're really pleased with his fall camp so far. In the spring, he was really good. He had a good summer workout wise.
King's fellow competitiors for the prime running back spot have also seen the growth in Keshawn King including Jalen Holston who sees the big play potential that King has every time he touches it, inspiring a nickname similar to Hokies' standout WR Tre Turner.
"Big play Key, like they call Big Play Tre (Turner). Just being able to make explosive plays, make little runs turn into big runs, his ability to break tackles, and just all around, a big play dude," Holston said.
Raheem Blackshear has also seen the explosive plays in King, but he's also seen the growth in King's maturity that Blackshear credits heavily for his growth as a football player.
"Big play Key, I feel like he matured as an adult. He's growing up, and by him elevating his game, he can make big plays, explosive plays. Give him the ball in his hands, it's going to be a nice explosive play, you get chunk plays as we call it. As he keeps growing as a person, keeps growing as a man, he's going to keep on elevating his game," Blackshear said.
Looking ahead, RBs coach Adam Lechtenberg is excited about what Keshawn King can do both on the field as an explosive playmaker on the field, and his growth and maturity off the field that can be a boost both to his teammates and his own development.
"We're really excited about his potential as a big play type guy and he's just been more consistent and acting more like an older player. He's helping the younger guys out. That's what we need from him and that will help him get his opportunities."