FORCE ON DEFENSE — Sophomore linebacker Tank King emerging as Titans star

Published 12:28 am Sunday, July 16, 2023

Port Arthur Memorial football boasts an extremely talented defense.

As the Titans look to build upon their recent success, sophomore linebacker Tai’yion “Tank” King is emerging as one of Southeast Texas’ rising stars.

King earned the Titans starting linebacker job as a freshman in 2022. Despite being the youngest player on the field, he tallied nearly 60 tackles and three sacks on the playoff team. Now, he’s ready to take things up a notch.

Tai’yion “Tank” King made a name for himself as a freshman in 2022, securing a starting spot on the playoff-bound Memorial Titans. (Courtesy photo)

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“I’ve been in the weight room getting stronger, faster and going to private sessions with a linebacker coach,” King said. “No. 1 goal is to be better than I was last year. All my other goals are anything to help the defense and help my team win.”

The moniker Tank is a fitting one — King stands 6-feet-2 and weighs 205 pounds. He’s already big and still has room to grow.

He originally played defensive end through much of his football career. Upon reaching high school, he hit a growth spurt and slimmed up a bit. His coaches took notice and suggested a switch to linebacker.

While the positional change took some adjustment, King adapted. He says the rest is history.

“The hardest thing was really learning about this position,” King said. “I struggled at first, especially being the youngest kid on the field. Last year, I basically played varsity at 14 years old. But it was a really good experience for me.”

King models his game after Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys — one of the NFL’s most talented and versatile linebackers.

With a year of varsity experience under his belt, King is rapidly growing into a similar mold. He’s becoming a dynamic playmaker who can stop the run, drop back into coverage or line up as an edge rusher to pressure the passer.

King is a competitor, coaches say, showing up early for workouts and staying late.

He credits his competitive spirit to his family, as he comes from a lineage of athletes. His father played collegiate football and his mother was a track and field runner.

Now, Tank appears to be on his way to becoming the next star athlete in the family.

He won’t graduate high school until 2026, but many Division I football programs are already taking notice of his talent. He has several offers from universities such as Missouri, SMU, Baylor and Texas A&M.

“We’re really excited to be on this whole roller coaster,” King said. “I never knew I’d be in this position to get all these offers. It is really a blessing.”

— Written by Keagan Smith