student of rare distinction. When he
graduated with his class in 1893, it was as Class Salutatorian. He was also an editor of
the Daily Princetonian, a member of Triangle Club, and a member of Tiger Inn, the
campus eating club which, then as now, had its fair share of gridiron stalwarts. After
graduation, King attended New York University Law School, obtaining his degree in 1896.
When the blue-eyed lad with the curly blond hair entered Old
Nassau, no one really had a clear inkling of his athletic greatness, even after he made
the freshman squad as a hundred and thirty-eight pound quarterback in an age of the flying
wedge. When he joined the varsity in 1890, the New York Times evaluated the Tigers
as the poorest Princeton eleven in years.
Phil got his chance with the varsity when the regular
halfback was injured against Penn in the fourth contest of the season. In his first carry,
Phil scampered around end for twenty-five yards; before the game was over, the Tigers had
a new star halfback. According to the New York Sun, "King played a great game
for Princeton, making several phenomenal runs, and two of them touchdowns."
He never left the lineup after that. His reputation rapidly
became legend as he ripped off unstoppable runs against opponent after opponent. He ended
the season with an astonishing twenty-nine touchdowns. In an incredible display, he faced
Virginia and Columbia on successive weeks and racked up seven touchdowns against the
former and eleven against the latter!
Though the Tigers suffered one defeat that season, a 32-0
thrashing in the final game against Yale, King was selected to the All-America team that
year. He was already considered one of the most pile-driving line plungers football