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Oklahoma defensive end David King bucking for title of most improved Sooner

The football star of the Sooners' ‘Training Days' makes the unresolved Ronnell Lewis situation less stressful for Oklahoma.
By MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com, Twitter: @mikebaldwin1022 Published: August 29, 2011

NORMAN -- On ESPN's "Training Days with the Oklahoma Sooners," junior defensive end David King raced around the edge to record a sack. Then another.

"Good job, David. That's three for you today," said coach Bob Stoops, giving King a congratulatory hand slap. "That's the way to come around the corner. Keep it up."

It was just a helmet, pads and shorts practice. Second day of two-a-days. King actually tapped quarterback Landry Jones on the shoulder instead of bringing him to the ground. But clips on ESPN's one-hour special was indicative of how much King has improved since last season.

On OU's revised depth chart released on Monday, Ronnell Lewis continues to be listed as a starter opposite Frank Alexander. But it's uncertain whether Lewis will be eligible for Saturday night's season opener against Tulsa.

Regardless how the Lewis saga unfolds, King will be part of the defensive end rotation. And he could have a major impact for the No. 1 ranked Sooners.

Linebacker Corey Nelson was praised for having as good a spring as anyone on the roster. But defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright said King would be near the top of OU's most improved list since the Sooners defeated Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl.

"I thought he was the most improved player last spring on our (entire) defense," Wright said. "He continued to improve and make strides in fall camp. He's gotten a lot better. He's developed into not only a better player but as a leader on the field which is what I really like about him.

"We need some leadership up front, losing Jeremy Beal, who was the quiet assassin. He never said a whole lot. But when Jeremy spoke everybody listened like EF Hutton (commercial)... (King) has been a real plus with the younger guys."

King, who got bigger, stronger and faster in the off-season, started the first three games last season at defensive tackle. He was later moved to defensive end. In a limited role, he recorded 11 tackles and one sack.

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