The University of Houston Cougars are off to a hot start for the 2018 season. With a 5-1 record and 2-0 in American Athletic Conference play, they are currently in first place in the West Davison.
The reason behind UH’s success has been the outstanding play of junior quarterback D’EriqKing. The Manvel product has smoothly operated the Cougars’ high-octane offense to near perfection. As proof of their explosive offense, consider this:
- Houston is second nationally in total offense with an average of 582.2 yards per game while ranking fourth nationally and leading the American with an average of 50.0 points per game.
- Houston is the only school in the nation to rank in the top 15 for both passing offense (No. 15, 317.4) and rushing offense (No. 11, 264.8).
- Nine different players have receiving TDs and eight different players across three position groups have rushing TDs.
As an All-State QB at Manvel High, King was recruited as a wide-out. He took over the reins at quarterback in week nine of the 2017 season, leading the Cougars to an upset over nationally ranked University of South Florida (USF).
This season with an entire offseason to refine his QB skills, King has been outstanding. First-year offensive coordinator Kendal Briles is effusive with praise for his young signal caller.
“The kid is a tremendous leader. As a person, he’s a better person than he is a player,” Briles said. “He’s just a tremendous ambassador for the university. I love working with him.”
“Every day is the same with him. You know what you’re getting every single day. He’s a great learner,” Briles continued. “He really cares about being a great quarterback, and most of the great quarterbacks do so. When you have that, and then you have some God-given abilities, you have the opportunity to be successful.”
King believes his stint at receiver has helped make him a better quarterback.
“It helps a lot…getting the speed of the game and adjusting,” King said. “I kind of know what those guys go through. Just knowing that helps me as a quarterback.”
King, a low-key personality, described his leadership style.
“I feel like I’m not the ‘screamer.’ I’m a ‘show you how to do it’ type and I’m going to work as hard as I can to just try and get my guys going. I was kind of the same in high school. I was never much of a talker or screamer.”
When one sees King perform on the gridiron, memories of his predecessor – All-Conference quarterback and Philadelphia Eagles receiver Greg Ward Jr. – immediately come to mind. They are physical doubles, and King said Ward has helped him evolve as a leader and quarterback.
“I talk to Greg a good amount. He’s always told me to just be myself, become a better leader and work hard every day,” King said. “He and I did the exact same thing, receiver for a year and a half and then taking over at quarterback. Getting advice from him has helped me a lot.”
The Cougars take on an always tough Navy team on Friday, Oct. 20 in Annapolis. They return home for an Oct. 27 key AAC match-up with Charlie Strong’s nationally ranked USF team.
King by the numbers
- Began the season against Rice with his second career 300-yard passing game, three TDs through the air and one on the ground.
- Sixth nationally and leads the American with 20 passing touchdowns.
- Eleventh nationally and second in the American with an average of 317.2 yards of total offense per game, while ranking 19th nationally and second in the American with an average of 272.4 passing yards per game.
- Responsible for 152 points and leads the nation with an average of 30.4 points responsible per game.
- Passer rating of 168.2 is second best in the conference and 16th