Four years ago, Marquette King arrived in Oakland an undrafted free agent from small school Fort Valley State – a strong-legged punter lacking some finesse – but the Macon, Ga.,-native, got to work, took over the punting duties in 2013, and in 2015 he set a franchise record with 40 punts placed inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
"When I first came in, the only thing I did have was a driver, even when I played golf, all I wanted to do was drive the ball as far as I can, still," said King. "When I got better with the punting deal, I focused on punting the ball in the trash can, putting the trash can in the corners of the field, and just aim and try to put the ball in the trash can. Constantly doing little drills like that, focusing on walking around the field, dropping the ball on the lines, but doing it to the point where I just got exhausted and got tired, and aggravated from doing so many drills, to where it became second nature."
The best photos from Marquette King's 2015 season.
After the performance King delivered in 2015, it certainly looks like the finesse part of his game is certainly becoming second nature, and as such, the Raiders elected to sign King to a long-term extension Monday morning.
"It feels pretty good; I'm ready to get to work though, man," King told Raiders.com. "The organization gave me an opportunity which I'm really thankful for, and they decided to keep me, so that feels good, just to know that they trust me enough, and for me, it just makes me want to work even harder."
He continued, "I still have a long way to go, though."
After injuring his foot during the 2012 preseason, King was forced to spend the season on Injured Reserve, but even though he missed the whole year, his confidence remained steadfast.
"I always knew that I was going to be up there with some of best in the league because I feel like I work so hard at what I do," King said. "All you have to do is put work in, and it'll pay off, and I knew that as much work as I put into this, it was going to pay off."
King's signing represents the first unrestricted free agent the organization has signed heading into 2016, and the Fort Valley State-product is excited to get back to work with Head Coach Jack Del Rio and his staff.
"[General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] has done a good job. [Jack] Del Rio has done a good job, just trying to get people where they're going hard to just maintain their positions, because they're not just giving people positions," King explained. "They're making you earn your spot."
The Fort Valley State also becomes the next punter in line in what has already been a rich history of Raiders' specialists that includes Shane Lechler and Hall of Famer Ray Guy.
"I've actually done more and more research on how the Raiders have handled their specialists and stuff, and how good they are, and it feels good to a part of that," King said. "It's just real cool to get a chance to be on the same team that Ray Guy was on, and it's cool that both of us are from Georgia, [and] Shane Lechler. It's just a great opportunity to be here and be among them."