Jake Knott has been one of the best college football stories of the last decade in Iowa.
With no fanfare, he came to Iowa State from Waukee and soon established himself as a player. And when I say a player, I mean a player. Knott has been a play-making, game-changing linebacker for the Cyclones. That he had to succumb to shoulder surgery Monday indicates he was really hurt. Because this guy often played hurt, and still played well.
He was a first-team All-Big 12 linebacker in 2011, and would have been a shoo-in to repeat as one this year had he been able to finish out the season.
Some speculated Knott would miss last Saturday’s Baylor-ISU game because of the shoulder injury he sustained the week before at Oklahoma State. But he was in uniform, he played, and he had 11 tackles and forced a fumble in ISU’s 35-21 victory. So typical.
On Monday, Knott was named the Big 12′s Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
But he hurt the shoulder even more in that game, and Monday was the end of the line. Unless he makes it back for a bowl game. The 5-3 Cyclones need one more win to become bowl-eligible, and that’s no gimmee. Not without Knott.
If Iowa State does get that sixth win, though, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Knott playing in late December.
This is what Knott put on his Twitter feed Sunday, without a single mention of any pain he was feeling, or the fact he would be having surgery in Chicago the next day.
Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads called Knott “A young man who really helped jump start this era of Cyclone football.”
That isn’t an exaggeration.
Chris Williams of Cyclonefanatic.com has a nice post about Knott right here.