WKU football: Local tackles share quiet bond

4 11 2010

 

Hunter Wilson/Daily NewsWestern Kentucky tackles/tight ends coach A.J. Pratt (left) explains a drill to offensive linemen Preston King (second from left) and Wes Jeffries (right) as Ed Hazelett stands by.

By NICK BAUMGARDNER

The Daily News

nbaumgardner@bgdailynews.com/783-3239

Wes Jeffries and Preston King don’t remember very much about their first encounter.

Now offensive tackles at Western Kentucky, Jeffries – a Warren Central product – and King – a Greenwood product – know they first met opposite each other during their respective high school careers.

The details of those days, though, are a little hazy.

“I don’t remember much about those days,” King says. “I just remember they always beat us.”

When asked to recall those same high school memories, Jeffries says he remembers more about going against his fellow 300-pound teammate on a different playing surface.

“I remember more from playing against him in basketball than I do football,” Jeffries said. “That was always a rivalry in both sports, and yeah, we always won.”

While the two didn’t know much about each other back then, they know plenty about each other now.

King – a senior right tackle – and Jeffries – a junior left tackle – have combined to make 57 starts at their respective positions along the offensive line for the Hilltoppers since the 2008 season.

And not only are the two now close on the field, they’ve also developed a bond away from the game – a friendship that WKU offensive line coach Walter Wells doesn’t see ending any time soon.

“Those guys are going to end up living together,” Wells joked. “They’re going to purchase 20 acres somewhere in Bowling Green, call it the ‘Horsemen Estates’ and they’re going to live together with their wives the rest of their lives. They’re going to Greenwood and Warren Central football games, hate Bowling Green (High School) and then come tailgate up here at Western.

“That’s their deal. They’re thick and thin. They’re always together and they’re just two great guys.”

Two of the more soft-spoken players on the team, King says that the natural bond between the two comes from a shared mindset of simply showing up to work every single day – no matter the situation.

“We’re pretty good friends, we’re very similar,” he said. “Me and Wes, neither of us are really big talkers, when we’re around our friends and in the locker room maybe, but otherwise, we’re pretty quiet.”

Quiet or not, perhaps no one has been more consistent on the field than King and Jeffries over the past three seasons. And this year might be their best season to date – as they’ve had a large part in paving the way for Sun Belt Conference leading rusher Bobby Rainey, as well as keeping opposing defenders away from quarterback Kawaun Jakes.

Entering Saturday’s contest against Florida Atlantic, Jakes has been sacked only 14 times this season – third best in the Sun Belt. Rainey, meanwhile, has racked up a league-best 938 yards on the ground.

The secret to the duo’s longevity, according to Wells, has a lot to do with the very personality trait that focuses less on words and more on action.

“They’re lunch pail, blue collar guys that just work hard,” Wells said. “They do it in the offseason, they’re both good in the classroom and they’re both good in the community.

“I don’t ever have to worry about those two.”

And playing in the community that they both call home is something neither says he would trade for anything.

“That’s been awesome,” Jeffries said. “I have a pretty big family, and when they all come and you see them tailgating before the game and then look up and the stands and see them up there – it’s an awesome feeling.”

King takes it one step further, saying that playing for the team that he grew up watching – and the team that his father, Jim, played for in the 1980s – is nothing short of an honor.

And win or lose moving forward this season, King and his fellow Warren County giant Jeffries will continue doing what they’ve done since middle school – work hard, and let their play speak for itself.

“It’s a great honor (to play at WKU),” King said. “I grew up as a Hilltopper fan, and now to call myself a Hilltopper – it’s a great feeling.”

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3 responses

4 11 2010
Jim King

Nice article on Preston & Wes.
Thanks

4 11 2010
Nick Baumgardner

My pleasure Jim.
I’ll expect an invitation to that Horsemen’s Estate now in the future!

4 11 2010
FKozowski

This truly is an excellent article, as so many of them have been. A much enjoyable read. Thanks much.

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