Penn State Football

Nittany Lions wary of Iowa’s Desmond King


Iowa defensive back Desmond King, the 2015 Jim Thorpe winner and a consensus first-team All-American, hasn’t had the same season this year. Coming off an eight-interception campaign, King has only one pick through eight games (against Purdue on Oct. 15).

But Penn State head coach James Franklin knows that’s not an indictment of King’s ability.

“He hasn’t had the same type of production this year because he has such a strong reputation and people are choosing to stay away from him,” Franklin said. “But he still has a huge impact.”

King, a high school running back, is still dominating on kickoff returns, too. The senior is averaging 32.0 yards per return on 14 attempts, which ranks third nationally.

Franklin said anyone watching King can tell he was originally recruited as a tailback.

“That’s how he plays,” the coach said. “He’s got a physical aspect to his game...He’s a playmaker. When he gets the ball in his hands, whether it’s interceptions for a touchdown or kick returns, that’s what you see.”