A simple tattoo written in cursive on Macgarrett Kings' left forearm spells out the phrase: "We are brothers" placed directly below a retro Miami Marlins logo.
Donning his No. 85 jersey while sitting at a large round table alongside fullback Trevon Pendleton Monday, the hanging dark cloud of two arrests since April of 2014 has made Kings value these last three years in East Lansing. Kings feels he turned his back on the team when the incidents occurred.
"It's made me humbler, take nothing for granted," Kings said at Michigan State's media day. "It made me appreciate the team more than anything. Those are my brothers, who are there whenever I need them. They made sure I did everything that I needed to do in class, tutors, if I need a ride anywhere, that's why Spartan brotherhood is important to me now."
While Kings credits his wide receiver corps, offensive line and the entire offensive unit for helping guide him through self improvement, his mother, according to Kings, will always be his biggest influence on life. She regularly travels to campus from her Florida home.
Kings' father recently moved to the Detroit area, taking a job in construction, allowing him to visit his son on a consistent basis, while also making sure that Kings is doing the right things towards success.
"For my mom to be worried or something like that, I just can't have that on my chest," Kings said. "I'm way up here, she's way down there, and she doesn't know what I'm doing up here. But if my mom is happy, then I'm happy, so as long as I'm staying out of trouble and doing what I have to do, that's all I want, as long as she's happy."
Kings, 21, of Fort Lauderdale, plead guilty to littering in public after two misdemeanor charges against him were dropped this past April following a February 28 arrest for kicking a parking vehicle and resisting arrest. He was also arrested for operating while intoxicated and driving under the influence on April 6 of last year.
According to coach Mark Dantonio, Kings was in limbo at the start of spring practice but returned to the field on March 28, in time for the annual spring game at Spartan Stadium.
Kings finished with two catches for seven yards in the Green-White game, but former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins described the senior wideout as a player who has a very high ceiling, despite the quiet performance.
"I love seeing the football in Macgarrett Kings' hands, you never know what's going to happen," Cousins said. "He can make some plays, and I think he's going to concern some defensive coordinators this season because he can make people miss and make plays."
With the absence of Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphrey, the three-year letter winner believes everyone on the depth chart has big play potential, including the incoming freshmen. It's just a matter of being trustworthy from the eyes of the coaching staff, as the process of finding the No. 1 guy is ongoing in preseason camp.
A sense of motivation rides through Kings when the question of not knowing who will be the go-to offensive playmaker this upcoming season comes up. Especially when the offseason hype revolves around quarterback Connor Cook returning for his final year of eligibility and the offensive line is considered to be the best in the country.
"You should have the mindset of 'today is a new day and now let me separate myself from the other dudes in the room,'" Kings said. "I'm making myself stand out from everyone, making plays, making blocks when I'm supposed to make blocks, just make plays to separate yourself, that's the biggest thing."
Kings is also focusing on building up the chemistry between himself and Cook, whether it's by staying late after practice to work on passing routes or even throwing the ball around. Anything to help lay down a foundation for an exceptional relationship on the field.
"That chemistry is very important because in crunch time or game time, when everyone is tired, that chemistry is what's going to keep everything together with you and your quarterback," Kings said. "Our time this summer was great, we got a lot of work in, more than what we did last year."
The 5-foot-10, 192 pounder is back to No. 85 after wearing the No. 3 jersey last season, who admitted his frustration when told to switch numbers. But Kings has since embraced the new identity, a theme since learning the wrongdoings of his off-the-field miscues.
But it's not just Kings who has seen progression, it's also coming from his wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel, who is in his fifth season at Michigan State. The four-year letter winner at Purdue couldn't be more proud of how Kings has matured these past few months.
"Kings is now in that position where he can be depended on," Samuel said. "To be depended on, him and [Aaron] Burbridge, they understand that we're depending on them to lead this group, to make plays, embracing opportunities. And Kings, along with the rest of my seniors, aren't shying away from those opportunities."
Kings has caught 76 passes for 942 yards in 35 career games, including four starts, and has been the team's starting punt returner the past two seasons, ranked No. 14 in MSU history with 40 returns.