In a rather candid revelation, Arkansas State offensive coordinator Walt Bell expressed a lot of admiration and confidence in the ability of Knighten, who will be making his first start Saturday night against Montana State.
“I am really excited to watch that kid play on Saturday I will put it that way,’’ said Bell, who will be calling the plays for the Red Wolves. “I have a smirk on my face because I know something.”
It was not hard for Bell to hide his smirk, or his grin, during the school’s weekly press conference Monday in Jonesboro.
“Fredi is going to be a really, really good football player,” said Bell. “That kid is really good football player. Now will he look like Austin Davis or Bryn Renner? Is his skill set similar to theirs at all? Not one bit. But he is going to be a really, really special football player.”
The most valuable player in the GoDaddy Bowl, the junior from Little Rock has not started a game in his Red Wolves’ career. He did come off the bench to almost lead a victory at Western Kentucky in the regular season and led A-State to a victory in the bowl game in Mobile in January.
“He is a great kid, a great human being and we are going to do everything we can that we can do to put his talent and where his skillset are expressed and put to the forefront where he can be successful,” said Bell. “I’ve got a really good feeling he is going to be special.”
Knighten’s career numbers are 37 of 53 passing for 259 yards, three touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also has run for 440 yards and 5 touchdowns.
“I will tell you this, when we got here there were some things that he really, really struggled with,’’ said Bell. “And there were things at the end of spring ball and through the first 10 days of camp … but he is throwing the football better than I think he even anticipated he could.
“I think his confidence is starting to grow. The quick game, the drop back game, I think he feels like he is in command. I think he feels he is improving. I think he can tell by just his body langue.
When I first got here, and the end of school, take back at the end of spring you could see his body language change. He is now starting to sense that. Fredi is pretty intelligent. He has great recall.
He is so gifted athletically and, mentally. He is starting to grow in the offense.”