First, there was snow football, the older brother couldn’t let the younger win. He knew he would hear about it. Then, Jake Knott arrived at Iowa State and that younger brother, Luke, followed his footsteps.
Now, Luke is a starting linebacker for the Cyclones, getting advice from Jake. Recently, both looked back and ahead. Those have been combined here for a Friday conversation.
What do you remember growing up?
Jake: We were just competitors in everything. Me and him would go at it all the time. We’d go out there and one of our favorite things to do with some of our buddies around the neighborhood was to go out and play snow football and just wreak havoc on each other when we were little guys. I think that has helped us a lot because we just loved to compete so much and we just loved winning. We hated losing, and that was established at an early age.
Luke: We were competitive in everything we did when we were younger. No matter if it was football or a game of ping pong or pool or just a game on Xbox. If I were to take him down in anything I would let him know about it. He definitely helped me with my competitive side growing up.
What were those snow football games like?
Jake: We went against each other sometimes and there were some pretty epic battles, some physical matchups every once in awhile. I would do whatever I could to make sure I won because I knew I wouldn’t ever live it down. He got the better of me a few times.
Luke: We were super competitive growing up. We actually had a couple of neighborhood friends, and they’re still some of our best buddies. He would usually take it to me and my buddies, but if we ever won, I tell you what, he wouldn’t ever hear the end of it.
What role did you play in Luke coming to Iowa State?
Jake: He could go and maybe play at a smaller D-I or D-IAA and possibly play quarterback still, which he taught himself how to play quarterback his freshman year of high school. Or he could come to Iowa State, which I obviously was pulling for him. Wherever he wanted to go he wasn’t going to hear flack from anyone in his family. I think he really, his junior and senior years of high school, kicked it into high gear workout-wise and everything.
What was the communication like during Luke's hip injury?
Jake: I stayed in constant communication with him through [the recovery] because I know personally how tough that type of a deal can be and how much it can weigh on you. You almost feel like you’re letting your team down by getting hurt, but I let him know it’s not his fault and sometimes this kind of stuff happens in football. One thing I let him know is it’s not going to be a simple or quick process. He had to understand he just had to try to do whatever you can do that given day and trying to be the best at it whether it’s some intense rehab workout or just completely resting and letting everything heal.
Luke: You’re isolated from the team, you’re going through your own stuff. It’s easy to kind of tuck your head and almost go into a depressed mindset. Having his support and the support of the trainers and everybody that supported me throughout the whole rehab process, that wasn’t an issue.
Is there a greatest memory?
Jake: [The 2012 Cy-Hawk game.] I didn’t get to play football with him in high school and all that, so he’d be on the sideline and I’d go over there after a bunch of stuff and he actually helped me because he knew a lot about the game at that point. It was just pretty cool that he was able to do that and not to mention that I had my brother, who I’ve always tried to be a role model for. It’s priceless memories and I’m going to always be able to carry it with me for the rest of my life having him on the sidelines with me.