Knight settles in as UNH quarterback

DURHAM – Quarterback Trevor Knight is entrenched. For the first time, these are Knight’s UNH Wildcats. And the 6-foot, 206-pound Nashua South High School product from Amherst spent the last nine months exhausting every ounce of energy to ensure things stay that way.

Tuesday afternoon, the junior Knight aced one final tuneup before the real thing, clicking on 13 of 21 passing for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the “Blue-White” scrimmage at Wildcat Stadium.

On August 31, he and the Wildcats open the 2017 campaign at home – a “Thursday Night Throwdown” – with Colonial Athletic Association arch-rival UMaine.

“I’m a lot more comfortable this year. I’ve had a year with the offense, and that year of experience is huge, especially in this league,” said Knight. “It’s definitely a jump from New Hampshire high school football to the CAA.

Unlike a year ago, where a QB controversy reigned and Knight needed to wrest the job away from senior captain Adam Riese, he is the boss, QB1, numero uno this time around.

Last year was a little tough. Riese was the captain. We played back and forth, here or there,” he said. “It feels good just to be the No. 1, get most of the reps. I got way more reps in this camp then I’ve gotten in my entire life here.”

Knight, who clicked on 179 of 319 for 1,714 yards (14 TDs, 10 INTs), wasn’t about to rest on his past performances.

In fact, after school let out in May, he and a couple teammates did a month-plus of hard time, training in San Diego throughout the month of June.

“It helped me get to the next level, and got my speed up a bit,” said Knight. “It was just a couple teammates, Donald Goodrich, Kieran Presley and myself, all day working out. I know it’s San Diego, and that’s pretty nice.

“We talk about how hard it was, though. It was a life-changing experience being out there.”

Being here has to be considered a bit of an upset for Knight, considering where he once stood on the Wildcats’ QB depth chart.

“It’s crazy. It feels like just yesterday we were out here for the first scrimmage, but that was three years ago,” he said. “It’s been a crazy ride, two years ago I was hurt and I was the fourth string guy as a redshirt freshman. I’ve just tried to work hard to climb my way up.

“I had to take care of my body better. I had a sprained ankle that lingered way too long. I knew I was right there, I needed reps and reps, thankfully I got them.”

These days for Knight, it’s no longer a me thing for Knight, it’s clearly become a “we” thing as he looks to lead the Wildcats to their 14th straight NCAA playoff appearance.

“Our offensive line doesn’t have a lot of guys coming back with experience, so it’s good I have that experience, for me to be there, lead them, and get them going,” Knight said. “These guys are hungry. They want to do well. Sometimes all they need is a little kick in the butt. There’s a lot of upside with these guys.”

Knight and the Wildcats will get their first taste a week from Thursday.

“I’m more excited about this opener with Maine,” Knight said. “Last year I was excited and nervous playing San Diego State, one of the top defenses in FBS. I’m pretty fired up for Maine. They’re a top rival, and the place should be pretty crazy.”

SCRIMMAGE NOTES: Souhegan Regional product Jake Kennedy, a UNH senior, saw plenty of time up front protecting Knight. Kennedy is pencilled in as a starter on the Wildcats offensive line. …

Sophomore punter Drew Sanborn, out of Bishop Guertin, had one boot for 34 yards.