Not highly recruited, but talented and energetic, 6-2, 265 James Knight is a name that some college team's fans might be excited about in seasons to come. A tremendous athlete whohas excelled on both offense and defense for Murray County High since his sophomore season, the lightly-recruited Knight is expected to visit Auburn this weekend and says that it's always been his dream to play football at a school in the SEC.
"I've been waiting on Auburn to give me a chance to come down there," Knight tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "They told me they weren't going to bring me down there unless they were going to offer. I've been waiting for my chance to go there. I may have to go as an offensive linemen and transfer over. Coach (Hugh) Nall told me he was planning on coming back to see me. Coach (Tommy) Tuberville told me he watched film on me and wanted me to come down."
A standout at the Nike Football Training Camp held on Auburn's campus this past May, Knight gets most of his recognition on the defensive side of the ball for Murray County. As a senior he had 20 tackles for losses and 90 tackles from his defensive line spot. He also blocked three field goals and recovered four fumbles. As a junior he had 22 tackles for losses with four caused fumbles, two blocked field goals and 98 tackles.
Much of his production up front comes from his quickness off the ball. Recording an astounding 4.37 time for the shuttle run at the Nike Combine, he also has a personal-best time of 4.8 in the 40-yard dash. It is no wonder that he's able to get to the ball carrier with regularity. To put his shuttle time into perspective Auburn commitment Dee McClure from Minor had a shuttle time of 4.44 despite his 40-yard dash time of 4.5. Others that fell below Knight's time were players like Travis Robinson (4.54) from Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa and Dusty Lindsey (4.73) from Mobile. His time was the best among the linemen at the camp.
"My quickness off the ball is my strength," Knight says. "That's what all the coaches seem to mention. They want to know how I do it. I also play with a lot of heart. At the beginning of the year I had both a high and low ankle sprain at the same time and I didn't miss any games."
If his quickness isn't enough to get the job done Knight can also power through players without much problem. A standout weight lifter for Murray County he is 10 pounds from the Georgia state record in the power clean at 365 pounds. He also throws the shot and discus in track and has throws of 169 feet in the discus and 51 feet in the shot put. His throw in the shot was good enough for fourth in the state last season.
"I've always played tough, but I've never had weights until I got in high school," Knight says. "Once I got in high school that saw something in me. I went from being 5-9, 200 in the ninth grade to being a starter for three years. My freshman year I was 5-9. I was short and fat, but I came back from the summer and started on the varsity as a sophomore."
A visitor to Auburn for games against Mississippi State and Georgia, Knight says he was blown away by the atmosphere at the games and the fan support shown by the Tiger faithful. Growing up without cable television he says that he mostly listened to games from Auburn and Georgia on the radio, but was glad to get a chance to see a game in person.
"I liked the atmosphere and the students," Knight says. "It was a lot different than being in front of 4,000 fans. Just the speed of the game was awesome. I have dreamed about playing football at a Division I school. You only live once and to be able to play somewhere like Auburn would be great."