Nigel Knott maintains Vols interest

Finding playmakers to put on the island and defend outside the numbers is no simple task. Tennessee is just one of several programs vying daily to build a relationship with Nigel Knott.

The word “family” is one often mentioned when top prospects mention why they have interest in being a Tennessee Volunteer.

Nigel Knott made the 7-hour trek from his home in Madison, Mississippi, to Knoxville both in March and for an Orange Carpet Day event in June. Each time he walked away with the same thoughts.

“The family feeling that I get while I’m there,” the Scout No. 1 cornerback in the Magnolia State told IT. “It just kind of feels like everything is true, nothing has been put out or fake or whatever. It’s just kind of that family feeling with the team and stuff like that.”

How Knott feels about Tennessee has the Big Orange in the Scout four-star prospect's top 10 are Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Texas A&M and USC.

From its head coach Butch Jones to its defensive coordinator John Jancek to its recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie and defensive backs coach Willie Martinez, the Germantown (Miss.) High School standout hears from several Vols staff members.

“I hear from coach Jones, coach Martinez, coach Jancek and coach Gillespie,” Knott said.

“(Gillespie)’s cool. He’s originally from Mississippi so there’s things you can relate to when you’re talking and stuff like that.”

Martinez would be Knott’s position coach if the defensive back decides to play on Rocky Top.

“He’s really cool,” Knott said of the third-year assistant. “It would be really cool having him as a coach. He just tells you what you need to know pretty much.”

Tennessee recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie
(Danny Parker/

Knott plans to cut his list of 10 favorite schools down to five.

“Trying to do it some time heading into the season, finish up with unofficial visits and then try to get toward a top 5 so I can take my official visits,” Knott said.

The 5-foot-11, 174-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in a laser-timed 4.3 seconds. It’s that type of unteachable explosiveness that has all 10 finalists grinding to secure an official visit out of Knott, who said he’s working on a list.

“I’m trying to get that down,” Knott said. “Some of these schools, I’m going back. I do have Oregon locked down because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take the unofficial.”

The Class of 2016 talent said he may be in attendance to see the Volunteers take on Oklahoma at a sold out Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Sept. 12.

“People were talking about how the first game was going to be good, but I just don’t know yet,” said Knott, who added offers from Missouri and TCU this month.

Just days ago the speedster had an MRI done that resulted in the discovery of a torn knee meniscus, and he will be out 8-12 weeks. Much, if not all, of his senior season will be missed.

The No. 4-rated cornerback in the South told IT that Germantown does not allow students to graduate in December. He is committed to play in the Under Armour All-America Game in January.

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