King aims for reception royalty

HOOVER, Ala. -- When Georgia football historians rattle off the top receivers in Bulldogs history, Tavarres King's name probably does not make the list.

That could change after this season.

If King manages this fall to match his production from a season ago -- much less, exceed it -- he would creep into the program's top five in several career receiving categories. Not that he wants to allow premature thoughts of that possibility to invade his thoughts.

"Don't look at it, don't worry about it," said King, who represented the Bulldogs on Thursday at SEC media days alongside outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, defensive end Abry Jones and coach Mark Richt. "You can really only focus on one game at a time. My job is easy, just worrying about me, worrying about being in the right place when I need to be there."

The senior flanker pushed a good season to very good with a star-making turn in Georgia's most recent game, against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. Although the Bulldogs lost in overtime, King set a new single-game school record with 205 receiving yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, on six catches.

That season-ending effort gave him the team lead in catches (47), receiving yards (705) and touchdown receptions (eight), but he knows he could have fared better. Despite ranking among the SEC leaders in receptions, King's catch total would have been much higher if not for a number of dropped passes, incompletions and other mishaps.

"I watched film the other day and I think I had 92 opportunities [to get] the ball in my hands," King said. "Some of those were drops. Just looking back, what I'm going to do is just look at those and see how I can make those positives, turn those into plays that I make this year."

Perhaps that is why offensive coordinator Mike Bobo stressed last week that King must become a more consistent performer if he is to fulfill what Bobo believes is the potential to rank among the SEC's top wideouts.

"I think Tavarres is a top-level receiver in this league," Bobo said. "I think Tavarres has to become more consistent to be what we think he is, and what he wants to be is a top performer in this league. I think he has the ability, and consistency is key with him, and he knows that and had a great spring and is working hard."

Nonetheless, with 93 catches for 1,652 yards and 11 touchdowns through three full seasons, King is poised to join the likes of Terrence Edwards, A.J. Green, Brice Hunter, Hines Ward and Fred Gibson among Georgia's all-time most productive wideouts. King is 630 yards away from tying Mohamed Massaquoi for fifth in Georgia career receiving yards (2,282), five touchdown catches from matching Massaquoi, Juan Daniels and Hason Graham for fifth all-time and 65 catches away from Massaquoi's fifth-place total of 158 receptions.

Those possibilities might surprise some Georgia fans who watched King live in Green's massive shadow for his first couple of seasons, but King grabbed the spotlight for himself more often last season after Green's early departure for the NFL.

He certainly will not be Georgia's only weapon at wideout -- not with with Marlon Brown, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Michael Bennett, Rantavious Wooten and rising star freshman Justin Scott-Wesley all in line to catch their share of passes. But even if he is not head and shoulders above Georgia's other receiving options, King figures to be option 1A, which could help him use this season to place his name among the top players at his position in program history.

"Our receiving corps, I like them a lot. I don't know if we've got one guy like we had in A.J. and all that kind of thing, but as a group, last year we caught the ball better than I can ever remember guys catching the ball at Georgia," Richt said, later specifically referencing fourth-down touchdown catches that King and Bennett made in last season's win against Florida. "We made some catches you're supposed to make, but we made some catches that were tough catches."