MINOOKA — Some decisions are bigger than others. Some decisions mean more than others. For Minooka Community High School’s Blake King, the decision to sign a National Letter of Intent to play football for the NCAA Division I Northwestern University Wildcats is the best decision of his life.
King, a 6-5, 280-pound offensive lineman, submitted his letter as part of National Signing Day on Feb. 6, which is the first official day on which high school seniors can sign and submit a binding National Letter of Intent to play collegiate football for any NCAA member school.
When he first embarked on the recruiting process, King admits it was a challenging task.
“The beginning was rough,” King said. “One day you are on top of the world, and the next day you feel the complete opposite. I am really thankful, though, for Coach Dennis Springer (assistant Northwestern football coach and the team’s recruiter for this area of Chicagoland) and Coach Bert Kooi (former MCHS head varsity football coach) on how they worked to make this all come together. Coach Kooi sparked the interest with Northwestern and it just took off from there. Even after Coach Kooi stepped down last year, Coach Paul Forsythe (current MCHS head varsity football coach) took over and kept everything going smoothly.”
King said that from the moment he met head Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald, he knew Northwestern was the perfect fit.
“Coach Fitzgerald was upfront with me and I really respected that,” King said. “I liked the way he recruited and how he was honest with me on what his expectations were. He got me going and got me to focus on academics. He inspired me to try hard, and to seek help if I needed it.”
King added that visiting Northwestern’s campus solidified his decision.
While he has had a lot of supporters along the way, King credits his parents, Patrick and Paula King, for the important role they have had along this journey.
“My parents have been awesome,” he said. “They have always kept on me about keeping my grades up and getting my work done, and even made sure I didn’t miss any workouts.
“Plus,” King joked, “I eat a lot, and they always made sure I was fed well.”
As he looks back on his high school football career, King clearly enjoyed his days as a member of the Indians’ football program.
”What I liked most about Minooka’s program is that it is like a family,” he stated. “We are all really close and it makes you want to try that much harder.
“Coach Forsythe taught me and all of his players to go out and give it your all,” King stated. “He preaches to us that there is never a time that you don’t give 110 percent. ou don’t save it for another day — you use it now.”
King said the highlight of his career came during his junior year when the Indians qualified for the state playoffs and took on eventual state semifinalist Naperville Central.
Minooka’s Forsythe is excited about what this opportunity has in store for King.
“Blake is a blue collar, hard-working kid,” Forsythe said. “To have a chance to play Division I football in the Big Ten and get a Northwestern education is a tremendous opportunity for him and his family. I am really excited for him.”
While he still has to complete his senior year at MCHS, King is already looking forward to what his future holds.
“Hands down, this is the best decision I have ever made in my life,” King said. “I know there are going to be a lot of great opportunities at Northwestern, and it is going to be a great ride.”
While King is undecided on a major, he is hoping to earn a degree in a business-related field.