December 6, 2010

Knox: 'His specialty is batting passes'

Muskegon High School head football coach Shane Shanefield confirmed Monday afternoon that Muskegon High standout defensive lineman Damon Knox committed to Michigan State this morning.

"Michigan State was in here to talk to him earlier today, Mike Tressel," Fairfield said. "Coach Nystrom from CMU was here, and Coach Gilmore, the d-line coach from Illinois. Coach Frey from Michigan was here last week.

"After Mike Tressel was here, he called Coach Dantonio and committed. Damon is very excited about it, and he should be. It's a great accomplishment."

Knox (6-5, 260) is ranked among the Top 10 players (no order) in Michigan by, and is ranked No. 27 in Michigan by as a three-star defensive end.

Knox was named first-team Division 2 All-State by the Detroit Free Press after helping Muskegon, the all-time winningest high school program in Michigan history, to an 8-4 record and a berth in the MHSAA Regional Finals.

"They were all pretty much offering him (a scholarship)," Fairfield said, " as long as he got the qualification part finished."

Fairfield and MSU project Knox to be a full qualifier and a stock-on-the-rise prospect on the defensive line.

"He is on track. He will be qualified. He has the test score. He just has to make sure he maintains his grades and stay away from C's.

"They (Michigan State) were just in and talked to him, and he is good to go. All he has to do is study and hit the books, which he understands, and at the end of the day he will be a Spartan.

"He has been down to Michigan, to Illinois (for unofficial visits), he has visited their places. He has been to their games. He liked Michigan State and the family atmosphere. He liked the school, the student body. I definitely know that the Michigan State coaches that recruited him built a great relationship with him.

"I think Michigan State is a good choice for him. We liked the way they handle discipline and their expectation of players in the classroom."

When asked what MSU liked about Knox, Fairfield said: "His character. His demeanor. He's a good kid. Coach Dantonio liked him as a human being."

And as a player?

"Michigan State recruited him as a d-lineman. Some d-end, maybe some d-tackle. He played some three-technique for us and some tight end.

"His specialty was batting passes," said Fairfield, who is in his first year as head coach at Muskegon, after being elevated from the defensive coordinator position, which he held as part of Muskegon's '08 state title team. "Damon had a bunch of batted passes. He knows how to get into that passing window. He's a basketball player and he will power lift for us too."

Muskegon High School is in the process of going back over film and re-doing their seasonal stats. There are no tackles and sack totals for Knox available at this time.

"Michigan State just liked him on film, they like the things he does," Fairfield said. "He is a big body who still has to learn how to play in that big body. They look forward to getting the opportunity to coach him."

Fairfield said the thing that he will remember the most about Knox is that he played biggest in big games.

"In the districts and in the regionals there were times when he just kind of took over and did some really good things," Fairfield said. "He was just a force and played like we knew he could play. The tougher the game, the better he played. He played real well against the best teams, Rockford, Lowell, Forest Hills Central.

"He has done a great job for us. I'm excited to see him continue on in his career because he still has so much to learn in the game and a lot to give to the game. He has done a lot of good things for us and I think he is going to represent Muskegon well."

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