On the first day of the USC Rising Stars Camp, people were curious to see how the relatively unseen out-of-state receiver commits would compare to the local receiving talent. The only problem was a different out-of-state prospect stole the show…and it wasn’t on the offensive side of the ball.
The man guarding those receivers, Nigel Knott, was all over the place. His bright tuft of blonde hair kept popping into vision as he broke up, dislodged and swiped away passes throughout the Rising Stars Camp.
Knott made an impression on the talent evaluators as well as the other talented players that were brought in from around the country to compete at the event. His name was repeatedly mentioned amongst the top performers. But Knott also had to make another impression — on his family.
The trip to Los Angeles was a first and Knott tried to assuage their fears about him being far away from home.
“They were a little bit worried about distance. Now, it’s just getting easier for them to get used to it,” Knott said. “The main thing was once we got there, I just tried to make sure that they were having a good time as well — more than me — because I just wanted them to feel comfortable with if I were to go that far for school that they know I’m in good hands.”
It may not have looked it when he was in between the lines, but rather than the competition on the field, Knott was more concerned about making his family comfortable and getting around to check out the lay of the land.
“I’ve never been out that way, so kind of just wanted to see the area because I am considering them for a school. I was just trying to get down to the area, get around, get to see the place, stuff like that.”
Knott is still hoping to due a lot of traveling with unofficial visits to Oregon, Alabama, Florida State, “in the Texas area and possibly get to South Carolina, North Carolina” still potentially on the itinerary, but Los Angeles made enough of an impression on the four-star Madison (Miss.) Germantown that he was able to move his focus beyond the location and area to the coaching staff and players.
“The program itself, USC, I was just trying to be around it, get the feel of it. Get the feel of the coaches and just kind of get to know some of the players as well.”
“I had a good feeling about it. They’re needing DBs. They showed me their board and stuff like that.”
Knott has developed a good relationship with a couple of the players as well as USC defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, who he said is personable and easy to talk to even though he’s the coach.
“He’s the coach, but he also, I guess you could say, he takes care of his own players — the DBs and he just helps to keep them on track,” Knott said. “Talking to the DBs, I got the full experience from them while I was there.”
The 5-foot-11, 171-pounder is rated as the No. 9 corner in the country and No. 111 overall prospect in the 2016 class. He said he’s trying to winnow away the schools to come to a final five, but wants to finish his summer tour of unofficial visits before making that list.
And the chances of USC landing on that list?
“It’s a good shot because I had a great time while I was there. I really liked the feel of the coaches and getting to know Adoree' Jackson and all of the other players and not just the DBs, but the whole team, so I had a good feeling while I was there.”
Check out these Nigel Knott highlights from his junior season where he's making plays all over the field, including multiple blocked kicks: