Detroit safety likes Michigan State

Coach John L. Smith is always on the lookout for talented players to add to his rising Michigan State recruiting class. The Spartans have zeroed in on a talented safety prospect from Renaisance High School in Detroit.

Coach John L. Smith is always on the lookout for talented players to add to his rising Michigan State recruiting class. The Spartans have zeroed in on a Derek Knight, a talented safety prospect from Renaisance High School in Detroit.

Knight, a 6-foot, 190-pound prospect at Renaissance High School, has played varsity football since his freshman year and started the past two seasons, playing strong safety and running back. He will be a three-time varsity captain this fall. In a telephone interview with Badger Nation's Jonathan Linder on Sunday, he said he has upwards of 22 scholarship offers, his most recent being from Colorado.

"No real favorite," Knight said. "I can say that I like UCLA, I like Georgia Tech and I like Michigan State. I like most of my Big Ten offers, including Wisconsin."

Knight was extremely productive as a junior last fall, with 128 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions defensively, while rushing for 540 yards on just 54 carries.

"Most (colleges) are looking at me as a safety but I have a few looking at me as a will linebacker or some looking at like a rover position, but mostly strong safety," Knight said. "It all depends on what defense they run (and) what they need."

"I'm looking for a school that's interested in me and pretty much somewhere I feel comfortable at," Knight added. "It doesn't matter where really, but a place where I feel comfortable... in that environment."

Among Big Ten programs, Knight has not yet received an offer from Michigan, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State or Iowa. "But Purdue seems to be ready to offer," he said.

Knight grew up a Michigan fan.

"I'm still a fan of Michigan but now that I can see more things, my interest has grown," he said.

"They've shown some interest," Knight said of the Wolverines. "I've been getting letters from them, but they haven't really been getting in contact like other schools."

Knight was on Ohio State's campus in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend for a Nike combine. At that event he covered 40 yards in 4.6 seconds, ran a 20-yard shuttle in 4.5 seconds and recorded a 29-inch vertical jump.

"I didn't do my best," he said, "but I feel I did alright."

Knight also said he managed an impressive 16 bench-press reps at 185 pounds at the Nike combine, but he sounded disappointed with that result.

"I've been running track, so I haven't really been able to get in the weight room," he said.

"The most I've done was like 19 times," Knight said. "So I kind of went down. But I guess that's okay. It's pretty good…

"The last time I tested for that (bench-press) max was my sophomore year and I put up 290, so I'm thinking I might have raised up a little bit from there. It's well (above 300)."

Knight runs the 100 and 200 meters in track. He said his best time in the 100 is a 10.6.

"I don't think I'm going to run track in college," he said. "I wasn't planning on that."


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