Knight’s message was clear – he couldn’t get up.
It was a frightening sight in Norman as Knight was laid out for several minutes and nobody knowing exactly what his future would be at OU or in football.
“Absolutely it’s a scary moment,” Knight said. “When you lose feeling in your limbs, it’s something you obvious don’t want to go through. It’s a strange feeling.”
Strangely enough, it was Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty who was there for as much support to Knight as his teammates.
Petty, who got to know Knight through their time together at Peyton Manning’s quarterback camp in the summer, knew his quarterback counterpart was injured in a serious way.
Despite the game not being over, Petty prayed with Knight’s twin brother, OU tight end Connor Knight. It meant a lot to Trevor Knight, and it’s something that didn’t surprise him when it comes to the type of person Petty is.
Knight was able to walk out of the stadium under his own power, but it was clear he had suffered some neck and spine issues that were going to make it tough to pinpoint when Knight could be back on the field.
The Sooners went the final three games without Knight, posting a 2-1 record with redshirt freshman starter Cody Thomas. But in a season of disappointments, the biggest might have been with Bedlam where OU blew a 35-21 lead with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter to lose in overtime.
Knight’s numbers this season weren’t what he was expecting nor what OU fans were hoping for coming off his stellar showing against Alabama.
He completed 58 percent of passes, going 162 of 279 for 2,197 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 340 yards and five more scores.
OU and Knight got the good news as the Sooners took the field for their first bowl practice. OU is getting ready to take on 17th-ranked Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Monday afternoon, and Knight is back in charge.
“He’s doing everything right now as he always did, and I think the key part, too, is that after practice he’s feeling good,” Bob Stoops said. “It isn’t taking a toll on him so I think through this time he has been lifting and running and getting his body back. So far he’s felt really good.”
The players haven’t noticed a difference in Knight’s game. Offensive tackle Daryl Williams said he had no idea Knight was coming back but said Knight back to his usual self.
His roommate, center Ty Darlington, said Knight has been so pumped about coming back that it’s simply time to get back to work.
“He has looked absolutely great,” Darlington said. “I feel like he has been fine. He’s back in it again. Anybody who has ever had to go through rehab knows it’s frustrating. You think you can go, but they’re telling you that you can’t.
“Trevor is a little physical freak, too. Until he got to college, he had never been injured so he was so excited to get back out there.”
Darlington brings up a good point, though, in that before college, Knight was able to make it through his high school seasons. But the last two seasons have been rollercoasters for Knight.
Either his play on the field or his injuries off the field, it hasn’t been the rosy picture of a redshirt sophomore season so many expected. It would be natural to wonder if Knight can bring the goods again or if he might be a little hesitant to get back out there, but Knight said that’s not the case.
“No, not at all,” Knight said. “They’ve been very thorough. I’ve seen and talked to specialists all over the country, and they’re very confident in the decision to let me come back and play, and I’m very confident in coming back.”
Doctors have cleared him and said he’s no different now than he was in November. And he’s back to his old tricks, said linebacker Eric Striker.
“I haven’t been over there much, but when we’ve been going against (the first-team offense), he looks the same. Fresh, fast, he got me on a couple of plays now that I think about it. He got me on a little trickery and smiled at me.”
It’s good for OU to see Knight smiling again. He hopes to have that same expression on his face following the showdown against the Tigers.