AMES — Can’t play.
So what’s two-time all-Big 12 Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott to do in preparation for Monday’s Liberty Bowl game between his Cyclones and Tulsa?
Hit the books, of course.
Knott, ISU’s sixth all-time leading tackler who underwent college career-ending shoulder surgery in October, turned informal textbook creator and ultra-eager mentor in recent weeks.
The result: A binder containing about 20 pages of iron-wrought wisdom from the likely 2013 NFL Draft pick.
Knott is slated to graduate in the spring with a degree in business management.
His ad-hoc publication ended up free for the taking — as long as one fit the “WILL” bill.
“Particularly at the WILL linebacker (weak side) position, younger guys under me, I want to help those guys out first because I know the most, personally, about that,” said Knott, who ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. pegged as a mid- to late-round pick this spring. “So I put together a decent packet, probably about 20 pages long for them.”
Copy center project?
“Yeah,” Knott said. “I pretty much put it in player terms, I guess. You hear things a certain way and maybe that clicks with somebody maybe it doesn’t. You’ve got to put it in your own terms and that’s what I hoped to do for all of them. It took a lot of hours but it gave me something to do. I have every single formation with every single call, with what I was thinking when they come out in that. Just a lot of different things besides just a regular playbook I tried to do for them.”
Knott’s teammates will try to corral an up-tempo Golden Hurricane offense that features burner Trey Watts at tailback and versatile Willie Carter at H-back.
Watts broke off a 77-yard run in the Cyclones’ 38-23 season-opening win over Tulsa.
Carter was held in check by ISU, managing just one catch for zero yards, his lowest totals this season.
“We really had a lot of preparation on him just like we did this week, so he’s a good player,” Cyclone safety Jacques Washington said. “By containing him (and Watts), those two, and preventing the big plays, we’ll be fine.”
Knott’s helped the best way he knows how.
By passing on know-how and offering unwavering support — from the copy center to the sidelines.
I got done with finals early,” Knott said. “I wanted to do something. Something productive.”
Soon, Knott will begin focusing more on his next challenge: Turning the heads of NFL honchos.
He said Kiper dropping him to a possible fifth- or sixth-round pick merely adds grist for his “don’t underestimate me” machine.
“Someone saying something not as positively as you would hope, you can just throw it in the fire that I have burning,” Knott said.
Consider it fanned.
“A lot of people might not have that in their life,” Knott said. “And they’ve been catered to. They’re not going to realize their full potential and I feel like I’m going to make sure I realize my full potential.”
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