Georgia Tech’s Haynes King looks to lead Yellow Jackets to avoid complacency

Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King (10) attempts a pass during their first day of spring football practice at Rose Bowl Field, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King (10) attempts a pass during their first day of spring football practice at Rose Bowl Field, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Spring practice looked completely different for Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King last year.

A Texas A&M transfer, King wasn’t known by many people locally before he arrived at Tech. King was focused on making a name for himself.

This time around, his approach has changed completely because of his emphasis on being a leader and in control of the offense.

King’s transition has been so evident that his coaches have noticed, and loved it, as well.

“He’s really put himself in a position to be one of the best leaders I’ve seen at that position,” coach Brent Key said at Monday’s press conference. “The thing about Haynes that you can’t go without saying is just his leadership and the leadership role that he’s put himself into throughout the season last year and this offseason.”

Leadership was the first area of growth that Key and offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner mentioned about King at their respective press conferences this week.

Faulkner pointed to mid-summer of last year as when the quarterback took on the role. And this wasn’t limited to the turf at Rose Bowl Field or the Brock indoor practice facility or Bobby Dodd Stadium, he detailed how King speaks to everybody in the building on top of “getting in front of the team.”

This includes him rallying his teammates to go throw – another example Faulkner viewed as critical for a quarterback in his second year with the program and an offense returning most of its production from last season.

“He understands what comes with the position and all the things that it entails, the way you act on the field, the way you carry yourself,” Faulkner said. “Everything goes through the quarterback’s eyes, so we don’t really have to slow down because we’ve got a guy that’s experienced.”

King said his first step to becoming a stronger leader last season was by example, and the proof was in the pudding. An honorable-mention all-ACC selection who was voted permanent team captain by his teammates, the quarterback knew his word wouldn’t hold weight without production and “doing it the right way.”

Although his goal is to help the offense be more consistent, he also plans to take the next step heading into next season – prioritizing accountability.

“It was one of my big goals, taking that next step to be that leader. Not just through example, but vocally,” King said. “Not even just during practice, but outside of practice, like ‘hey, you’re going to class, your body weight,’ whatever it is … talking to them making sure their head is right and that they’re not getting too complacent.”

The leadership attribute typically falls on the quarterback more than any other position because of how much their play ties directly into the offense’s success. Key said it as the “most valuable position on the field for a reason.”

King’s effort to hone this trait has been clear in team settings, but specifically within the quarterback group. He noted that the bunch has a rule where they aren’t allowed to go to meetings or walk to practice without all the quarterbacks present. That doesn’t count the races they have between each other during drills, pushing one another to get better.

King added that the Yellow Jackets’ success last season created new challenges for the program – more expectations and easiness to get complacent. Knowing this, King wants to use his leadership and “always work” mentality to make sure this doesn’t happen.

“You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, you can’t stay the same,” King said. “That also breeds competition, and it will not let you be complacent because if you are the next guy who’s working every day, doing his job, showing up, doing it the right way, he’s going to take your spot.”