This past Saturday was a long time coming for redshirt junior defensive back Demonte King.
King — who spent the first handful of weeks of this season, as well as some of fall camp, sidelined by injury — got to see the field for the first time in maroon and gold.
According to King, just being back on the gridiron was a satisfying feeling in itself.
“It feels great, man, feels great,” he said. “I guess I didn’t ever feel like I would be able to get back, but we worked hard in training room and worked hard with my coaches in everything, it feels great to be back.”
This weekend against Oregon — when King could very possibly fill the role of a starter for the first time in his ASU career after having taken most of this week’s reps with the first team — he’ll line up not far from his former teammate at Long Beach City College, sophomore Kobe Williams.
On top of the injury struggles he’s overcome, the added bonus of working his way into the rotation with Williams is extra special.
“It means a lot,” King said. “Coming from the same JUCO, we did the same thing up there, it means a lot. We never probably would’ve thought we’d end up at Arizona State, much less the same school, it means a lot to me.”
“I kind of grew up alongside of (Williams), he’s from the same area,” he added. “Seeing a young guy like that, and me playing with him, it’s just crazy to me.”
Williams echoed his fellow defensive back’s sentiments, especially having watched him deal with injuries last season at the JUCO level.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “But we’re all teammates, brothers now. Me and Demonte go way back, so it’ll be fun playing with him. He’s like a brother to me, we’ve both got dreams, it’ll be fun.”
Williams, though, is still waiting anxiously to see his good friend and teammate back to 100 percent health.
“He still has these times where his shoulder is tripping on him and everything,” he said. “And I’ll be like, ‘Dang, I can’t wait until you get to 100 percent,’ so I can see him out there how he was when he first played. But he’s coming back, I’m proud of him.”
After a week’s worth of experience back on the field, King said he feels much more comfortable entering his potential first start against the Ducks.
“I’m definitely more comfortable,” he said. “Got my feet wet, ready to go, probably was a little antsy, I got in there, got some hits and stuff, I feel good. I’m ready to rock.”
A lot of that boost in confidence coming off of the Texas Tech game has to do with the similarly explosive offense ASU will line up against in a few days’ time.
Williams said he found it beneficial that the trip to Lubbock came right before the Sun Devils’ game against Oregon.
“I’m glad we played them before we played Oregon just to get us ready for this,” he said. “The same team to me, really, a lot of explosive receivers, we’ll be ready, just get better and get ready for it.”
And for Williams, while he and King have extra experience playing together, he feels comfortable playing with all of the members of ASU’s young secondary with a high-powered Oregon offense on its way to Tempe.
“We’re all brothers,” he said. “I think of them all the same, I’m comfortable with all of them really. (Demonte and I) have our little signals and can mix and match stuff, but it’s cool.”