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2024 NFL Draft

Penn State CB Kalen King Hopes to Reunite with Joey Porter Jr. on Steelers

Former Penn State cornerback Kalen King hopes that he can reunite with the Steelers and former teammate Joey Porter Jr. M



Pittsburgh Steelers CB Kalen King
Penn State CB Kalen King warms up at the Senior Bowl, Feb. 3, 2024 - Alan Saunders / Steelers Now

MOBILE, Ala. — Penn State was well represented at the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. And for Penn State cornerback Kalen King, the Steelers have an intriguing connection — former teammate Joey Porter Jr.

But Nittany Lions dotted the sideline at Hancock Whitney Stadium, with tight end Theo Johnson, defensive lineman Adisa Isaac, and defensive backs Johnny Dixon and King all in attendance during Senior Bowl practice and Saturday’s game, looking to boost their draft stock.

For King, a projected second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the week was about proving to teams his play can translate to the next level.

“I feel like this season was okay for me. I feel like I could have played a little better, but as far as being here, I’m going to show everybody how competitive I am,” King told reporters, including Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now, during the week.

Two things stand out in his mind that separate him from the pack in the loaded cornerback class.

“Confidence and competitiveness. The type of guy I am,” King said. “I’m a big energy guy and feed off making big plays.”

In three years as a Nittany Lion, King totaled 82 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, and 28 passes defended in 38 games. He made four tackles in the National team’s 16-7 win against the American squad. Isaac also made two stops and Johnson had two catches for 12 yards.

My passion for the game,” King said. “I love the game of football and have been playing it since I was a little kid. I keep that same passion and confidence that I had since when I first started, and it’s only going to get stronger.”

King was challenged numerous times by opposing wide receivers during practice and struggled to keep up. But his resurgence in the game saved the week from becoming a disaster.

Following a tremendous 2022 season with Joey Porter Jr. on the other side of the field, King took a step back this year. He closed last year with 21 passes defended, one forced fumble, and fumble recovery, plus three tackles-for-loss in 13 games. King opted out of the Peach Bowl after not grabbing an interception in 12 games while recording two passes defended. Penn State lost to Ole Miss 38-25.  He still keeps in contact with JPJ regularly.

“That’s my dawg. His whole process and going through this same process as I am [during this time] last year, I was all eyes and all ears,” King said. “I was asking questions, seeing what was happening, watching everything. I’m calling him and texting him for advice; he always has my back.”

Could King reunite with Porter on the Steelers? King did not meet with Mike Tomlin during the week but did meet with Steelers representatives.

“They’re a very good program,” King said. “They made it to the playoffs this year. They have a lot of good pieces and good vets. They’re a really good team. I had an interview with the Steelers, and it went well.”

With an obvious need at cornerback, King could end up heading to the Steelers in the 2024 NFL Draft.

A version of this story was first published by our partner site, Nittany Sports Now.