By Matt Popchock


The photo to your left shows a former WPIAL star defending New York Giants receiver Brandon Stokley. In case you missed it, that former WPIAL star will be united with another from our eastern suburbs in the same city that hosted the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI upset.

Gateway and Penn State alumnus Justin King finalized a deal with the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend after spending four seasons with the St. Louis Rams, who drafted him as a defensive back in 2008. One of King’s new teammates will be punter Pat McAfee, the former Plum and WVU standout, who will return to the Colts for a fourth year.

Injuries to the Rams’ secondary intensified the spotlight on King in St. Louis, and although he registered a career-best 63 of his 113 all-time tackles last season, his tenure with that team was generally forgettable.

Still, the Rams finished a respectable seventh in the NFL in total pass defense in 2011, which makes King worth a look to the Colts, who finished 15th in that category.

Before three solid seasons at Penn State–the alma mater of stepfather and high school head coach Terry Smith–King was anointed Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year and made first team all-state in 2004, his final year with the Gators. He was one of the most sought-after defensive recruits in the country, and he also rushed for 4,519 career yards at Gateway, becoming the third Quad-A player in WPIAL history to break the 4,000-yard barrier.

Here’s a blast from the past–and also, a glimpse of the future–King, as a college sophomore, bringing down eventual Steeler Rashard Mendenhall…

…and a brief look back at his time at Gateway, courtesty of Ryno Sports:

(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)