Kenny Knight Is Student Of The Game

Speed, strength and athleticism are undoubtedly important assets for a Division One football player. However, one athlete from the state of Michigan emphasizes the importance of being a student of the game as well.

Kenny Knight, a tall wide receiver from Beverly Hills, Michigan's Country Day High School, is the type of player who lets his game speak for itself. He's a do-it-all wide receiver who brings both the mental and physical aspect of the game with him when he takes the field. What does that equate to?

"Efficiency. Just because I'm good at what I do, I work with what I have, I may not be the fastest or the strongest but I have long arms, great size and good speed, and it allows me to get open just about whenever I want. It makes me a big target for quarterbacks to hit, and it makes me a DB's nightmare to contain.

"I'm more of a possession receiver. I work well with any routes. Being a big target, the deep ball is definitely something coaches will want to throw to me because of my potential, but I'll catch slants, curls, comebacks. I'll run anything to get the ball in my hands."

Knight's skill set is indeed diverse, and he utilizes his strengths to bring his best to the playing field.

"My main strengths would be knowing the game. A lot of guys play football just because they watch it, but I study the game and a lot of professionals. I pay attention to a lot of things other receivers do and analyze defenses.

"I think that's a really big strength too with the mental aspect. Getting open and getting separation are some of the things I do just as well as anyone. I'm deceptive when I run, but what I do leaves the defender a step behind. Basically just ball skills, hands, and body control too."

Knight surprises onlookers just as much as receivers, saying that he has a few abilities that are sometimes forgotten.

"My speed to be honest is probably underrated. I practice running 40's with my dad. My times are pretty good, but I don't have the technique that a lot of other guys have when it comes to running 40's. I go to camps and perform, but having my frame people look at me. I'm actually pretty quick, and I use my attributes to the best of my ability.

"I feel like I can always get faster. It's not that I have mediocre speed. I have 4.5 speed, but I can always get faster. I always feel like route running. Maybe it's an extra step or better cut. With more reps I know I can get better at it."

When it comes to his team, Knight is a real team player and is always making sure to push his teammates to make them better as well.

"I have all my teammates' phone numbers, and I try to stay connected with them. I've been on state championship teams that have won and teams that have lost. I feel like the difference was the chemistry we had.

"I've been at camps with teammates and cheering them on both in and out of football. The chemistry with my teammates and my coaching staff is extremely strong and hard to find. I work out with all my guys as much as possible. We work out, we throw, and I just feel like the things we're doing now will help us down the road to build as a team.

"The goal for this season is to win a state championship. It's not about me, it's about all of us. I really don't talk about recruiting and all that with them."

But being a guy who is grabbing quite a bit of attention, Knight does keep recruiting in consideration. With his season coming up, he has been discussing it with his family.

"I did minimal camping this summer, but I was good when I went. I went to Kentucky, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and Michigan State, and I'm planning to get out to Stanford."

"For me, really, I feel like the whole recruiting thing is people show interest where interest is shown. Obviously I'm going to show schools interest that I'm interested in and them showing it back is big.

"I sit down with my dad all the time, and we look up the schools and all their rankings and look at depth charts and all that. There's a lot that's going into the process and decision. Academics are a priority with my family and I too."

Illinois is one of the schools that is strongly pursuing Knight, who at 6'4" 195 pounds fits the ideal mold of a "Paul Petrino" receiver.

"I talked to the coach (Keith Gilmore) the other day, and they're still right up there with everybody else. I haven't really made a top yet because I feel like I haven't done all the research yet. As I'm starting to cut it down I get new offers, and it opens things back up.

"Illinois offered about a month ago, and they're definitely up there. The academics are nationally known, and my family and I are going to spend some time to check it out and study it. Right now it'll be a little hard for me to get out there with football starting, but I'll probably come down in the next few weeks."

With many players looking to make their college selections before their senior seasons, what did Knight have to say about his decision?

"I don't know that I'll wait until signing day. People say ‘make it before your senior season' but you can only do so much and you can't rush it. I'm not really sure when I'll make it.

"I want to take my time and feel good about it. If that's in a month then fine, but I'll take my time. It'd be great to make it before my senior season though, if I feel good about it."

Either way, it is obvious that Knight will have done his homework when he makes his selection.


Illini Inquirer Top Stories