Former Hawkeye defensive back Desmond King hosts football camp on Juneteenth at Iowa City High School

King, a cornerback for the Houston Texans, said he wanted to give back to the Iowa City community that changed his life.


Jerod Ringwald

Former Iowa cornerback Desmond King tosses a football during the Desmond King Football Camp on Saturday, June 19, 2021. King currently plays for the Houston Texans.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Iowa City High School’s field turf was bright and lively on Saturday as children from first to 12th grade participated in the Desmond King Juneteenth Football Camp.

King, a current Houston Texans cornerback, played for Iowa from 2013-16 and won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2015 — given to the nation’s top defensive back.

The former Hawkeye said he wanted to give back to the Iowa City community and use his platform to provide children with a great opportunity, especially on Juneteenth.

“Me coming from the city of Detroit, coming all the way here to the University of Iowa, it was a big, big drastic change in my life, and it was a culture shock,” King said in an interview with The Daily Iowan before the camp started. “Didn’t know anything about it. I felt like this is a place that changed my life significantly in an adjusted away because from where I was growing up from a lot of violence, a lot of crime and stuff like that and I felt like Iowa taught me to grow up, be a man, be an adult, and I was thankful for it.”

The football camp was primarily run by City High’s coaching staff. King also had his mother and godfather at City High to help, along with his high school coach and a representative from Rosenhaus Sports Representation.

King held two sessions Saturday — first through sixth graders attended camp from 9 a.m. to noon and seventh through 12th graders from 3-5 p.m.

Mitch Moore, City high’s head football coach, said the school was honored to host the football camp.

“I think it’s just really important for the community and for football in this community to get our youth involved and have a guy like Desmond King and a Thorpe Award winner and be able to come out and support this community,” Moore said. “It’s just a really neat deal.”

RELATED: Former Hawkeye Desmond King makes immediate impact for Titans

Recent Hawkeye football graduate Chauncey Golston, who went to the same high school as King, was also in attendance at the camp. Golston was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Like King, Golston wanted to return the favor to Iowa City.

“That’s why I’m here,” Golston said. “Like that’s why I’m in the shoe that I am in now because of Iowa City, because the coaches gave a shot to a little skinny kid from Detroit. So, if I can give back to the place that helped mold me into the man that I’m growing in to be, why not.”

The Los Angeles Chargers drafted King in 2017. After the 2018 season, he was named to two Associated Press all-pro teams, making the first team as a defensive back and the second team as a punt returner. After spending one season with the Tennessee Titans in 2020, King signed with the Houston Texans for the 2021-22 season.

“I’ve only been there a couple weeks, maybe a month now,” King said. “It’s pretty good. I feel like it’s going to be a great opportunity for me being somewhere where it’s still in a division that I played when I was with Tennessee last year. So, I’m kind of familiar with the conference and the division, and I’m really excited to see what the team can do this year.”

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