Iowa’s King Will Play Final Game With Degree In Hand

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Iowa senior cornerback and kick returner Desmond King has been one of college football’s best players over the past two seasons. A two-time All-American, King won the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back as a junior, then became the first Thorpe winner to return to school for his senior season. King, whose accomplishments in the classroom rival his feats on the field, said he promised his mom he would earn his degree–which he received earlier this month.

“It was a great moment for us. She just said she was proud of me,” King said. “(She told me) it’s just beginning. You prepared for it, but now your life is just beginning.”

The term “student-athlete” can be an oxymoron these days, but King embodies the phrase. He completed his degree in just three and a half years.

“I’m one of those guys that likes to get things done as soon as I can,” he said. “That’s one thing that helped me graduate early. I took a lot of course classes, and I did a lot of summer courses as well.”

Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz says that, just as he’s done on the field, King has proven to be way above the norm as a college student.

“To graduate in three and a half years is not easy. I think the norm is four and a half to five years for any student,” Ferentz said. “It’s kind of like the way he works on the field. He just works. He’s out there practicing all the time, doesn’t miss things. It’s really an admirable thing. He’s the first guy in his family to graduate, which I know his mom’s very, very proud of. I know Desmond’s proud of it to, and rightfully so. It’s just a really nice accomplishment.”

King and the rest of Iowa’s seniors have one more goal before they depart: get the school its first bowl win since 2010. The Hawkeyes face Florida in the Outback Bowl next Monday.

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