The rising sophomore tore his ACL and just like that, his season was over before it started.
Praised by teammates and coaches, McKnight was said to be the team's best coverage defensive back and the probable starter in just his second season. Instead, he had to watch the season crumble from the sidelines.
McKnight then had to watch as his teammates learned a new system, under a new head coach, during this spring.
"It was hard to watch and not really be able to get in there," McKnight said. "It was almost like the season again, with having to just watch and not participate much."
He was still recovering then, but has since finished his rehabilitation and is ready to contribute. The redshirt sophomore feels good about getting back into the swing of things.
"It's feeling good to be out here," he said. "I'm just trying to learn fast and everything. My knee feels fine and great. I just need to get back to where I was before."
Even though he watched all spring, McKnight still has learning to do on the field.
"Practice is going alright so far," he said. "I'm still in the way of learning stuff. I'm just in the progress of getting my abilities back up to shape. It's going pretty smoothly so far."
The rehabilitation process for some athletes can be grueling and may not yield positive results, but a fully healed McKnight feels that the wait was the worst part.
"The rehab went pretty good overall," he said. "It was just the waiting that I had to go through that was the hardest part, but it went pretty good."
Now that the defensive back has had a chance to go through a few of the fast-paced practices for himself, he gives a first hand account of the speed of practice and the attitudes towards it.
"I've noticed that everyone is in shape and running around, including myself," McKnight said. "At first, (the coaches) accepted some of our stuff because we weren't sure how to do things and weren't at that level. Now that they know that we should be in shape, they are a lot tougher.
"They really stress that everyone gets to the ball, which isn't new, but it is a much bigger deal than in the spring."
When asked what he was looking forward to most about this season, McKnight responded with a powerful, team response.
"We want a lot more wins."