Byron McKnight: Quarterbacks Beware

Scotland County (Laurinburg, NC) Defensive End Byron McKnight is a man on a mission when it comes to his play on the football field, and he knows what he wants from a school to help him improve on his ability to accomplish it. Keep reading to find out more about this focused player prospect and his upcoming visit.

Byron McKnight has a recurring theme when you talk to him about his abilities as a football player and what he is looking for in a school that will help him get even better at that skill: going after the quarterback. He's a headhunter, plain and simple.

When asked to describe himself as a player, the 6'4", 220-pound McKnight said, "I'm fast, active, and always ready to go after the quarterback." When asked about areas he would like to improve in, he answers, "Improve my pass rushing, and learn more techniques to get to the quarterback." Finally, when asked what athletic criteria he had for a school, he said, "I want to learn different pass rushing techniques that help me get to the quarterback."

McKnight has attended camps at South Carolina, N.C. State, and Virginia Tech this summer. He plans to make an unofficial visit to South Carolina on Saturday, August 12 to observe the Gamecocks practice. "I want to see really how hard the players work, and meet Coach Spurrier, talk to him one on one, while I'm there." McKnight said.

USC is the only school to offer him thus far, but he is also drawing interest from NC State and Virginia Tech. He said, "They really liked me at NC State, but I don't know a lot about the program yet. At Virginia Tech, they showed me the weight room, showed me how the players who work will accomplish a lot of goals."

McKnight's high school coach Mark Barnes said that he felt that while South Carolina was the first school to offer McKnight, they would be just the first of many schools who would "recognize his abilities and would offer him a scholarship."

McKnight described what he likes about USC: "Academic wise, I like what they offer you as far as tutoring, making sure academically you're going to make it all the way through school. Football wise: Coach Lawing, the way he teaches technique, quicker ways to get to the quarterback. When I was at camp there they showed me different techniques that I hadn't learned before."

His high school teammate is recent USC commitment DE Travian Robertson. McKnight said the two have known each other ever since 6th grade. "We always run together, play basketball and football together." He said that Robertson's commitment to USC will not play a factor in his decision, though if they both attend USC he would be happy about that.

McKnight plans on making a decision by the second or third game of his season. He said that decision will be based on academically how well a school work with the students off the field, and football wise, he wants to know what goals they are looking to accomplish.

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