UNH’s Knight pushing hard for pro shot
Trevor Knight has just a couple of things to wrap up for his double political science/criminal justice major at the University of New Hampshire.
But he’s not ready for the real world just yet. He’d rather be paid for playing the sport he loves, football.
“It’s all I want to do,” said Knight, the former Nashua South and UNH standout from Amherst. “I don’t want a 9 to 5 job yet. I can’t even think about doing it. (Playing football) is definitely what I want to do for as long as I can. I want to make the most out of it.
“It’s always been my dream since I was a little kid, since I first started
And it seems like it will be a reality sooner than later, perhaps as soon as this week or after next weekend’s National Football League Draft, when the rookie free agent process begins.
Besides any NFL opportunity, the 6-1, 200 pound Knight, according to his agent Jim Durkin out of Staten Island, N.Y., also has a chance at the Canadian Football League, specificially with the BC Lions of Vancouver, whose training camp for the 2019 season will begin in mid-May.
Where he ends up may be a matter of timing.
“The BC Lions have been talking to me, and I think he fits their scheme a lot,” Durkin said. “He’s mobile, strong arm, definitely has the attributes they like. They want him in for a tryout, and this week I’ll have a better understanding. … I also think he has a chance to be brought in as a (NFL) minicamp quarterback.
“And what I’ve told Trevor is NFL teams will bring in two quarterbacks for minicamp, and will eventually keep one.”
Knight said he talked with the New York Giants and New England Patriots at two pro day workouts last month – one with UNH in Epping and another at Dartmouth the pro days, and has also had an interview with the Raiders. It’s unlikely that he’ll be a late round NFL draft pick next weekend, but anything’s possible. If not, when teams hit the phones Saturday night immediately following the end of the NFL Draft, Durkin or Knight’s cell phone could be buzzing.
“I’m hoping for a minicamp invite,” Knight said. “It’s the same opportunity (as a late round pick), just different way to do it.
“I’m not really sure what can happen, I’m happy to still have an opportunity after being hurt this year. That’s all I can ask for.”
Could Knight actually be a late round NFL pick? It’s possible, Durkin said, but pretty much a long shot. Despite an injury plagued senior season with the Wildcats in which he played eight games, Knight had a tremendous junior year and also got good reviews – albeit as a wide receiver – at the College Gridiron Showcase workouts. He ended his UNH career fifth all-time at UNH in completions (590) and sixth in passing yards (6,345), 3,433 of which came in his junior year along with 26 TD passes the Division I New England Gold Helmet Award.
Knight feels teams will be looking at him as a quarterback, while Durkin said there has also been talk of him as a slot receiver. “Growing up I played all those positions,” Knight said. “The Raiders were talking to me as an athlete.”
The CFL’s Lions, Durkin said, have been interested in him as a quarterback and punt returner.
“It’s definitely another road you can take to the NFL, with me not playing my senior year and being from a small school,” Knight said. “It definitely kind of hurt my (NFL) chances. I think it would be great. I’ve watched a lot of the CFL, have a couple of teammates there now.
It’s definitely fun to watch, it’d be really fun to play, too. If I get that opportunity, I’d definitely take advantage of that. It could really come whenever now.”
If he had a choice, what would Knight want to do?
Knight knows any spot in an NFL camp is a long shot.
“I’d definitely love to play in the NFL,” he said.
Durkin feels the CFL may be the most immediate option.
“I tell people to take the NFL shot first,” Durkin said. “But Trevor wants to play somewhere. If Canada calls us, he’ll sign there. That’s my gut feeling.”
How serious is Knight about extending his football career? He basically skipped this semester and took two months this winter and trained in New Castle, Pa., at the suggestion of Durkin, a training facility called Grossetti Performance. It’s owned and run by former Slippery Rock (Ark.) University receiver Terry Grossetti, who is also that school’s strength and conditioning coach.
“I was basically up there in Amish country,” Knight said. “My agent spoke highly of this place, no distractions. Really good trainers there, good facility.”
In fact, the program also gave the players lessons in financial matters, etc., as well as interview preps (mock interviews). It was about a daily three to six hour a day average, including physical therapy, etc.
“It was worth it,” he said. “I got a lot better.”
Knight said he felt better at his second pro day at Dartmouth at the end of March rather than a mid-March pro day in Epping. “My times were way better,” he said.
The Giants, Durkin said, saw Knight as an athlete. He doesn’t have a read on the Patriots, which isn’t surprising.
“They never tell anyone what they’re thinking,” he said. “Who knows, they could bring him in, they wouldn’t have to fly him there. He could just drive (to Foxborough).”
After his junior year at UNH, when he had a breakout year, Knight realized that he would have a shot at continuing his football career, and agents a few months ago began contacting him. When he got injured his first game, that slowed things down. “I was OK with it, I’ll still have chances,” he said. “But it was crazy. I was saying, ‘Is this really happening right now?’ It was kind of surreal, as if this whole dream was actually happening.”
Durkin contacted him via email, and then had a long phone conversation, and Knight signed with him after his college eligibility was done in December.
And here we are, close to opportunity time, which also may be decision time.
Knight will likely watch the third day of next weekend’s draft, Saturday, with a bit more interest than he has in the past, not just for his own longshot draft chance but also because he worked out with a lot of draft prospects in
“You really never know,” Knight said. “You just hope your film speaks for itself.”
He’s talked with a few UNH alums who have been through the process, as well as others. But the best piece of advice he got throughout this whole process came from his father, Nashua High School South head coach Scott Knight.
“He told me, ‘Whatever happens, happens, just be confident, go play, and the rest will take care of itself.
“…He’ll be happy with whatever route I take. My family loves football, so they’ll support me.”
Thus, Knight said he’s not nervous about what could happen in the next couple of weeks.
“I’m definitely more excited than nervous,” he said. “I’m definitely more prepared, I’ve been training for about four months now, just getting ready for whatever’s next. I’m just waiting for it to happen.”