Stanley King is a long way from his hometown of Camden, New Jersey – in more ways than one. Jay Griffin IV is back closer to his hometown of Huntsville, Texas.
Despite their disparate backgrounds, the two transfer receivers have bonded over something that has linked Northwestern State’s preseason football camps for years – the heat.
“I feel comfortable,” said King, a transfer from Rutgers. “It’s been a smooth transition with everything but the heat. I’m getting adjusted to everything. I’m in the rotation. I’ve just got to get used to the heat, and we’ll see what it is at the end.”
Despite his status as a Texas native, Griffin IV has taken some time to reacclimate himself to the South’s heavy humidity after spending five years at the University of New Mexico as both a receiver and a conference champion sprinter.
“At first, there was a little adjustment getting used to the weather,” he said. “Albuquerque isn’t as humid. Other than that, I feel we’re adjusting to the offense well. We’re getting up to speed to do great things this year.”
The pair of FBS transfers entered a wide receiver group that is adjusting to a new position coach in Rashad Jackson, who joined the Demon staff in July.
The trio is learning about and from one another as well about and from an eclectic mix of receivers that includes sixth-year seniors Gavin Landry and Kendrick Price, who have played key roles in helping all three feel more comfortable at NSU.
“To be able to have older guys like Gavin and KP in the room is great,” Jackson said. “There aren’t a lot of seniors, which is good. You have a couple of voices guys are already listening to. They’re not hearing it from seven guys. They’re hearing it from those two – this is how we do things. For those young guys and the new guys alike, they’ve followed right behind them. It’s been great to see that transition with the new faces and the older guys coming together as one group.”
Added Griffin: “Gavin and I play the same position. He’s been very welcoming and helpful after every play, telling me what I’ve done well and what I could have done better. That’s elevating me every day, and I’m grateful for that.”
While Landry and Price have helped pave the way for Griffin and King to acclimate themselves quickly within the receiver room, Jackson’s and King’s transition was smoothed even more from various points across the roster and coaching staff.
“I’ve had guys like Eddie (Godina), (Ja’Quay) Pough and Race (Moser),” said Jackson, who coached the trio at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. “That made it a little easier transition. I already had a relationship with (offensive coordinator Brad) Smiley as well.”
For King, he picked up an assist from the opposite side of the ball that had little to do with football and much more to do with geography.
“(Defensive coordinator Mike) Lucas comes in every morning talking about the (Philadelphia) Phillies,” King said of his fellow New Jersey native. “There was a point during his speech in our family meeting the other night where I could really relate to him.”
As the Demons continue their preparations for Saturday’s second scrimmage of fall camp and for the Sept. 4 season opener at North Texas, the new arrivals seem to have meshed quickly.
“We have our rights and our wrongs,” King said. “We talk it out. It’s all about communication. That’s the thing that’s getting us through. We have the communication down. We keep doing that and we’ll be fine. No matter who comes in the room – if it’s a transfer or a walk-on or whoever – everybody will be together as long as we keep communicating.”
Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services