Three Bulldogs will play Division 1

Published 9:30 pm Friday, February 8, 2013

King's Fork senior football player Davon Grayson (seated on left) signed with East Carolina University as his little brother, Jordan Hasker, and his mother, Desirey Hasker, looked on. Charles Clark Jr. (seated in center) signed with Virginia Tech and was joined by his parents Lashonda and Charles Clark Sr. (standing in back). T.C. Livingston (seated on right) committed to play for Norfolk State University.

Three on-field architects of the best football season in King’s Fork High School’s history signed with Division I schools on Wednesday. Defensive back/running back Charles Clark will play for Virginia Tech, wide receiver/defensive back Davon Grayson is headed to East Carolina University and linebacker T.C. Livingston will join Norfolk State University.

Prior to this season, King’s Fork’s football program had produced only two Division I football players.

The three seniors were amazed and humble at reaching this level of success.

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“It’s really exciting,” Clark said. “When a school gives you a full ride to come play football for them and they recognize your talents and accept them, the fact that you have talents, it’s just a God-given blessing.”

“It’s great, man,” Livingston said. “It’s what I’ve been working for my whole life. This was always a dream of mine to play Division I football and succeed in my education.”

“This really means a whole lot to me, (because of) all the trials and everything I had to go through,” Grayson said. “I remember going through camps and all that. I had no (highlight) film other than my sophomore year because I was hurt my freshman and my sophomore year and my junior year. So, everything just really shows that God was on my side the whole time and the group of guys that I have behind me, I couldn’t ask for anything more. They had my back every step, so it just means the world to me.”

King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones could not hold back his praise of the young men who are now turning a major page in their lives after having matured in his program.

“The kind of character these guys have, they’ve been a blessing to be around,” he said. “I’m really proud to have been their coach and been a part of their lives, and we’ll be a part of each other’s lives forever. It’s not going to stop here. As a coach, this moment here means more to me than any wins we could have.”

Their coach also praised their dedication to workouts and to the classroom. Additionally, all three student-athletes have been members of the after-school Fellowship of Christian Athletes since the program started.

Jones said that the part of the coaching and teaching job that helps guide these young men to this point “is probably the most important part to me because it’s giving them a chance to pursue their future.”

Clark has been told that coaches at Virginia Tech plan on playing him at the free safety position. On the academic side of things, he has narrowed his choices down to two.

“Right now, I’m looking at (Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise) or I’m looking at Human Development.”

At East Carolina, Grayson will be continuing the offensive role he filled as a Bulldog, playing wide receiver. He has more of a general idea of what the future will hold in terms of a major.

“I actually haven’t chosen yet, but I know it’s going to be something around becoming a sports trainer,” he said.

He was not referring to athletic trainers that tape up players and tend to injuries, but rather those that help athletes develop physically to become bigger, stronger and faster.

“Whatever I do, I know I’m going to stay around the game of football my whole life, ‘til God calls me home,” he said.

Livingston will represent Norfolk State on-field as a linebacker, and like Clark, he has narrowed down his classroom focus to two options, but currently has an inclination towards one.

“I plan on majoring either in criminal justice or business,” he said. “I’m leaning more towards business.”

All three have aspirations to join the National Football League if the opportunity arises.

Jones plans on capitalizing upon the impact the players’ success will have on his younger players.

“As a coach, I feel fortunate every couple years if we have a D-I-type player,” he said. “To have three and plus some other great players that are going go play Division II and III and be good college football players, it just doesn’t happen that often. And especially a group that’s as tight-knit as they are. They’ve left their impression on the younger kids because we’ve had our best winter workouts — as far as consistency and the kid’s needing to be there being there — that we’ve ever had.”

Because of this leadership by example, Jones expects big things from Clark, Grayson and Livingston in college.

“I have no doubt they’ll have opportunities to be captains by the time they’re a senior there if they progress like I believe they will,” he said.