PROFILE: Joe McKnight

If there was only one player in Louisiana for 2007 worthy of a five star rating then it would have to be multi-purpose athlete Joe McKnight.

Surely, there will be other players in the sate considered for five star status when releases its first edition of player rankings for this class but McKnight could be as close to a lock as one can get.

At 5-11, 185 pounds and with 4.4 speed, the River Ridge-John Curtis product could very well be the top overall athlete in America. He is one of those rare breeds that can do anything you ask of him on the field.

McKnight truly did it all for the Patriots last season and boy was he exceptional in all phases of the game. You name it and the kid did it.

Rushing the football, the blue chip recruit averaged just under 14 yards a carry with 502 yards and nine touchdowns on 36 attempts. When he was not in the backfield he lined up at receiver where he hauled in 20 passes for 497 yards and five scores.

Special teams was also an area McKnight was unstoppable at as he averaged over 38 yards a kickoff return with one going for six and over 29 yards a punt return with four touchdowns.

All in all, the standout performer averaged over 18 yards a touch not to mention the five interceptions he recorded from his corner spot that resulted in three more touchdowns.

Needless to say, McKnight was a first team all-state selection along with picking up every other kind of honor that he was eligible to receive on the high school ranks in Louisiana.

John Curtis produces so many high-profile recruits on an annual basis that just about every school in America is recruiting McKnight. He has picked up numerous early offers but expect many more to fill up his mailbox over the next several months.

"I know Florida, Florida State, LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn and Mississippi State have offered," said John Curtis assistant coach Jeff Curtis. "I know of them for sure but I really can't imagine anyone not offering Joe."

With the various positions McKnight plays it is anyone's guess as to where he will end up playing once he moves on after high school. According to Curtis no one has mentioned a specific position yet.

"Joe really enjoys running back and it wouldn't surprise me to see him there," explained Curtis. "He can do so many things when he has the ball in his hands. But, he is talented enough to also play safety, wide receiver or corner. He could really play anywhere he wants to."

A lot of talk has been tossed around regarding McKnight and his desire to leave the state to play his college ball but according to Curtis that is pure speculation by people who are not close to the situation.

"I wouldn't say he wants to leave at all," Curtis said. "I think Joe is wide open. I don't think he knows what he wants to do. The bottom line with Joe is that he likes to win and that could have some impact with him."

McKnight was one of the many recruits who attended LSU's Junior Day last weekend and it will be interesting to see how his recruitment plays out over this recruiting year.

Everyone is always looking for the next Reggie Bush and coaches may be hard pressed to find anyone in America with that kind of talent.

Then again, if they look down in South Louisiana they may just find the next coming of the former Heisman Trophy winner.

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