Michigan State football player Josh King, a standout defensive end and wrestling state champion at Hinsdale South, was arraigned on multiple charges of sexual assault on Wednesday in East Lansing, Michigan. He could face life in prison if convicted.
Connor McCormack, who played with King at Hinsdale South, says he warned his friend about getting caught up in trouble in East Lansing.
“I was pretty close with Josh,” McCormack said. “He’s a nice guy. I didn’t see this coming. I warned him before he left for Michigan to be careful with all that.”
King transferred from Proviso East to Hinsdale South during his freshman year. The Hinsdale South community saw his potential immediately and did everything possible to help him succeed. Coaches, teachers and administrators all took a special interest in him.
“In a lot of ways we kind of just wanted to help Josh in every way we could,” McCormack said. “We knew he was going places, he just needed to see that he couldn’t screw that up. He had a real future to look forward to.”
RELATED: 3 Michigan State players charged in campus sexual assault case Dismissal of Hinsdale South’s King, others decimates MSU’s 2016 class
King was the top-ranked player in the state’s class of 2015. He wasn’t a consistently dominating player in high school, but it was easy to see his potential.
“He is a great kid,” former Hinsdale South teammate Deontae Curry said. “Everyone that played with him will say the same thing. He always put the team first, never complained about anything. He knew the job he needed to do on the field and he always got it done. He’s just a great guy, so it’s very hard for all of us to believe this occurred.”
King is one of three MSU players arraigned for an incident that occurred on Jan. 16 at an off-campus apartment.
In testimony during a hearing on Tuesday, MSU police said they believe that during a party King pulled a woman into a bathroom and forced her to have sex. Police also allege that King recorded himself having sex with the victim.
According to the Lansing State Journal, King’s attorney Shannon Smith said during the arraignment that she believes evidence will show the sex was consensual.
King won the Class 3A 220-pound state wrestling championship in 2015. He was a Sun-Times All-Area football player with scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, USC and Ohio State.
“He is obviously a very talented athlete,” Hinsdale South rising senior Destin Talbert said. “It’s terrible hearing what he is accused of and the kind of trouble he’s in. But Josh to my knowledge is a great teammate and a good kid. It’s crazy that this kind of thing happened.”
Hinsdale South principal Stephanie Palmer said the school has no comment on King.
King and the two other players involved, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance, were dismissed from the MSU football program on Monday.
King played in nine games, including two starts, as a freshman last season.
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