King officially enrolled at GAC

NORCROSS - On Tuesday afternoon, Greater Atlanta Christian head coach Jimmy Chupp got the news that almost every college football coach in the country would love to hear: Caleb King was going to be his running back.

The star senior, who has more than 60 Division I scholarship offers, withdrew from Parkview High and enrolled at GAC on Tuesday, officially ending a saga that started back in the spring of this year when King's older brother Andre called up Chupp out of the blue to talk about the Spartans' football program.

"This is Andre King," the conversation began.

"Good," replied Chupp. "Who is Andre King?"

"I'm Caleb's brother," King answered.

"Great, who is Caleb?" Chupp responded again.

And so it began - the most high-profile senior transfer in the history of the county and perhaps the entire state - with one simple phone call.

"I was really at a loss," Chupp said of the initial conversation with Andre, who is now a volunteer community coach with the Spartans. "So when he came to see me, he just said, 'I just want to talk to you about your program.' And I have people who come to talk about my program and I have no idea why they're coming.

"So really we just started talking about Spartan football. I'm passionate about Spartan football. So we just started talking about that ... and Andre started liking our program and was encouraged by what we were doing. I said, 'Andre, what would you think about coaching?' And Andre said he would love to coach. And really my talk with Andre was about coaching."

Now Andre will be helping coach his younger brother, who just happens to be rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation by Rivals.com.

King's transfer to GAC has been rumored for months, even before last school year ended. But while he was taking summer school classes in Texas last week, neither his old school or his new school was quite sure whether he would be on campus when classes started.

But the star running back took an admissions test on Monday at GAC and then ended the speculation once and for all on Tuesday, meeting with Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe to tell him that he was withdrawing from school and enrolling at the Norcross private school.

"It's an honor that he would want to come here and I hope he's honored that he was accepted," Chupp said.

After practice on Tuesday, King's former coach had nothing but praise for the star runner, who rushed for 2,765 yards and 19 TDs last year and finished his two-year Parkview career with 4,285 total yards (3,889 yards rushing) from scrimmage and 36 touchdowns. King also ran back three kickoffs for TDs as well.

"I wish him the best, I love the kid," Flowe said. "We did our best to provide for him and he did his best to provide for us. And it was a good match ... I want the best for him, I want him to graduate.

"Wherever he is I want him to have success, because he's earned it and he deserves it. And I want to see the kid play on Saturday. It would be an injustice to have a kid like him not play on Saturday."

Chupp actually hasn't even seen King play on Fridays.

Every game night for the last two years he's been busy with his own football team, so he's never gotten to see the extraordinary King play a down in person.

"I have only seen highlights on the (Gwinnett) Prep Rally and highlights on Channel 5 the other night," Chupp said. "All along I've been telling people that I haven't seen him play. I trust he's like everybody says he is as a football player."

While King hasn't had a chance yet to make an impression on the football field for the Spartans - his first practice with his new team is expected to be today - he already made one on his new head coach when they met together on Monday.

"(He's) an impressive young man," Chupp said. "Very polite, respectful. Quiet. Shy. But he was a very impressive young man."

Just wait until today, when Chupp and rest of the Spartans see what King can do with a football in his hands.

GAC has a long, storied history of talented offensive players, including Georgia fullback Brannan Southerland and Wake Forest running back Micah Andrews, who holds the all-time county mark of 2,871 rushing yards in one season.

But the Spartans have never had one like this - an electric back who broke the state record for rushing yards by a junior and has his choice to play college ball virtually anywhere in the country - so there will probably be a bit of an awe factor when they finally see him on the practice field.

"I think they will be awed a little bit by him, that he's the No. 1 running back prospect in the country and he's on all the sporting magazines," Chupp said. "So of course there's some awe about that."

But he hopes it doesn't last long. After all, this is their teammate and classmate now.

"I think all of us want to move on to the next day," Chupp said, "and in that sense it is a relief that a decision has been made."