Knapp Relishes in Opportunity Given

He was touted as the sleeper of the 2007 Sun Devil recruiting class, but injuries forced Dan Knapp to redshirt and delay his anticipated debut. The tight end didn't mind going through the one year hiatus. His development during that time, along with injuries at the position, are giving him a chance to display his skills, as evident last Saturday when he scored his first ever touchdown at ASU.

That inaugural score by Dan Knapp was ironically also his first ever catch as a Sun Devil. After Tuesday's practice, it was still hard for him to contain his excitement over this personal milestone. "It felt great, I can't even describe it," he said. "People asked after the game how it felt, and I said it's just too hard to explain. You just have to live up the moment and I did."

What may have been even more rewarding are the circumstances that surrounded that touchdown. Arizona State struggled in its first two trips into the Stanford's five-yard line, and had to settle for a pair of field goals. On their third opportunity in this part of the field, not on did the Sun Devils elect to throw rather than run but they entrusted the redshirt freshman to score.

"Coach came up to me on the bench and said that we're gonna run the play for me," Knapp recalled, "I was chomping at the bit to get in. Sure enough we run that play – touchdown."

With starting tight end Andrew Pettes going down with an injury in the first quarter, Knapp was the first reserve the coaching staff called upon. Nonetheless, with a solid fall camp behind him, the tight end felt that injuries or not, he would get his faire share of snaps on game day.

"I did feel bad for AP going down," Knapp acknowledged. "I'm trying to do the best I can now that I have more reps and I'm loving every moment of it. I've been waiting a long time for these reps. I'm just trying to get on the coaches' good side and do the best I can. I feel that I'm improving every week."

In a spread offense featuring several talented wide receivers, it stands to reason that it would be generally hard for a tight end to be an integral part of the passing game. Knapp accepts his role and is thankful for whatever duties he's asked to carry out on the field. "I see myself more as a blocking tight end anyway," he stated, "so every catch that I get is a bonus. My first catch was a touchdown, and every time you catch the ball it makes the game twice as fun, but blocking makes the game fun too."

Even though he hails from Reno, Nev. The tight end said that most of the players on UNLV's squad are not that familiar to him. He did however admit that growing up as a fan of his hometown University of Nevada he does dislike the in-state rival.

For that reason and others, Knapp won't look past what some have tabbed the proverbial trap game for the Sun Devils. Furthermore, even though the match up against Georgia looms large next week, the players' mantra of ‘one game at a time' won't allow them to look past UNLV.

"Sure we talk about Georgia and we know what kind of game it is for us," said Knapp. "But we always focus on this week's opponent. After the UNLV game it's all gonna be about Georgia, but until then we're just focused on this week."

The wait is over for Knapp and he stands to be significant contributor at tight end this season. Even though he was anxious to play as a true freshman, he believes it all happened for a reason.

"I'm glad I redshirted," he noted. "It did help a lot by getting more mature, being a better player. So I don't mind that I didn't play because I'm happy at where I'm at now."


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