January 14, 2009

Tennessee LB impressed by bowl win

Morristown (Hamblen East HS), Tenn. linebacker Demarcus Knight has been committed to Ole Miss since last April, and during that time, his allegiance has never waivered.

Part of that is because Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin discovered Knight during an evaluation of tape of high school prospects early last spring and not a lot of other schools were aware of Knight. Virginia Tech was recruiting him some last spring, but cooled after Knight took an unofficial visit for Ole Miss' spring game and committed shortly afterwards.

During several interviews with RebelSports.net since his commitment, Knight has expressed an interest in getting back to Ole Miss for another visit, but the lack of resources for transportation prevented Knight from making the 500-mile trip for events such as the Rebels' senior camp last July. However, with Ole Miss paying the bill for an official visit as permitted under NCAA regulations, Knight is set to finally make a return visit.

"I'm going down with my mother and step-father on Jan. 23," Knight said on Tuesday evening. "I'm looking forward to taking them. I've told them the things I saw and experienced when I was down last spring and can't wait to show them the campus."

With the official visit to Ole Miss set, Knight is fighting off overtures from another school - Kentucky - who has started to show interest since Knight received a qualifying score (18) on his ACT last month.

"Kentucky's been calling," Knight said. "They haven't offered yet. They are saying they want to think about it. They've been talking about me coming up for an official visit, but I don't plan on going. I went up there before on an unofficial visit."

While Knight, a 6-foot-2, 230 pound inside linebacker prospect, hasn't been able to visit Ole Miss, he has stayed in touch with the coach who discovered him for Ole Miss - Kent Austin.

"I talk still talk to coach Austin, he stays in contact," Knight said. "My mother also talks to him. She really likes coach Austin and enjoys talking with him."

That constant contact has helped Knight with his decision, even if other schools, including Kentucky, come on strong just before signing day.

"I'm firm with Ole Miss," Knight said. "That's where I'm going."

If the relationship with Austin isn't enough to help Knight solidify his decision, the Rebels' Cotton Bowl performance probably did.

"Man, it was great," Knight said of the Rebels' 47-34 win over No. 8 Texas Tech. "I said to myself, 'that's my team' and I had to pinch myself to believe that in the next year that I could be part of that. It's really got me excited."

So excited, in fact, that Knight has stepped up his off-season training.

"I'm in training, training hard," Knight said. "I'm doing a lot of conditioning and heavy lifting with a lot of reps."

Knight projects as a full qualifier with the 18 on this ACT and a GPA in the 2.8 range.

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