You don’t get far into a conversation about the Georgia Kings without Rico King coming up.
In fact, King is in the team’s name. Playing out of Atlanta, Georgia, they were once known as the Ravens.
The 2019 season for Georgia is all about Rico King, who was arguably one of the best overall players in the history of the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League. The then-Ravens had a perfect summer back in 2014 and rode that momentum, as well as King’s athleticism, all the way to a national championship.
Here’s how Kings owner Chris Thomas described Rico King – who was a major part of Georgia’s championship run – to Developmental Football USA.
“King was a true athlete for the Ravens during their championship season having played every skilled position on the field and excelled at each one. As a wideout, he entertained the fans with outstanding catches and at quarterback, dazzled his opponents with extended plays. He was a key factor in the Ravens bringing home the National Championship.”
Sadly, King was lost on July 19th, 2018 to a blood clot, which took him way too soon from his teammates, fans, and of course, adoring family.
Now known as the Kings, Georgia will be representing the American Conference of the APDFL, and they’ll be playing in honor of, and upholding the legacy of, their fallen teammate.
“It’s been such a roller coaster ride from the point of burying our brother until now that we haven’t put expectations on the season,” owner Chris Thomas told DFUSA. Thomas, of course, could not help but gush of King when looking ahead to the 2019 season.
“I think Rico was the definition of a football player. He could play any position on the field and no one was going to outwork him. He had a passion and love for this game that very few could understand, so our expectations or goal for this season is to approach the game as Rico would have and play it the right way.”
Win, lose, or draw, Thomas will be happy as long as the Kings play football the right way. The way King would have.
“His name deserves to impact the greater community the way he did with everyone who he came in contact with.”
Perhaps poetically, Georgia will kick off the 2019 APDFL season against the Crescent City Kings in a King-vs-King match-up, with Rico King undoubtedly being on the minds of all involved. That will be a big game for Georgia as will be the home opener against the Chilton Tigers. The Kings will be holding a dedication ceremony for Rico that day and hosting his family. That’s a game that will undoubtedly be emotional for the team and Thomas called it “a great honor” to host Kings family. That doesn’t mean he isn’t looking at the rest of the season pragmatically, though. This is football, after all, so it’s a week-by-week process for the Kings.
“One thing Rico taught me was to take it one game at a time. He was very big on respecting every team, player and opponent,” Thomas said.
Thomas has a strong history in the APDFL, so it stands to reason that the Kings should be a contender this season. He knows what he’s doing and has a championship pedigree having been a part of the 2014 Rockdale Rams, who were the runner-ups in the championship game, and then of-course the summer in 2014 when Rico lit up the league with the Ravens.
“The APDFL is the best league in the Southeast,” Thomas said. “It has always been the most organized and had the most competition. The teams who seek out competition always look to play in the APDFL.”
As far as competition in the the league is concerned, Thomas relayed that it comes down teams boasting a bevy of individual player talent, and the Kings will be one of those teams this season in the APDFL.
Offensively, Thomas mentioned wideouts Greg Patterson and Julian Bellinger, lineman Martin Green, running back Corey Stevenson and quarterback Rob Lockett as players to keep an eye on in 2019.
On defense, the Kings will be led by Bo Harris and Martez Walthall playing linebacker or defensive end, cornerback Aldrickus Shamake, and safety DAndre Jackson.