The college coaches came for the star quarterback. They stayed for his giant young lineman.
All those recruiters who stopped by Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal last season to scout eventual UCLA signee T.J. Millweard are making their way back this spring.
The attention has helped establish Demetrius Knox as one of the state’s most highly sought recruits for the 2014 class.
The 6-foot-4, 296-pound offensive tackle has quickly jumped on the national radar with offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Nebraska and UCLA, among others. And Knox hopes an offer from Texas is on the way.
Longhorns offensive line coach Stacy Searels watched Knox practice on Thursday and assured him he’s a high priority for Texas’ next recruiting class.
“He said he loves my playing style and thinks I’m a really good player,” Knox said. “They really don’t offer sophomores until the first part of June or until February, but he said I already have my offer in the bank. It’s an unofficial offer, though, since it’s not June yet. But he told me it’s coming.”
That’s high praise, considering Texas recruits almost always have to wait until at least February of their junior years for an offer.
Whether Searels’ formal offer comes next month or next year, one thing is clear: Knox is a top target on Texas’ 2014 wish list.
New offers continue to roll in every week, but Knox has already has a list of his seven favorite schools so far: Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, UCLA, Oregon, Florida and Stanford.
“Texas is a great program. They’re basically on the same level to me as Alabama,” Knox said. “Their fans are crazy and they have the best everything at Texas. If you can’t succeed at Texas, I don’t think you should be playing football.”
Knox can’t say he’s surprised by all the attention he’s receiving. He knows he had a strong spring and is looking forward to proving he merits the hype as a junior.
He credits a certain future Longhorn for instilling some confidence. Before transferring to Arlington Heights, A'Shawn Robinson battled Knox in practices during his time at All Saints.
“I went up against him the first time and I just looked at him. He was taller than me, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m about to be put on my back right here.’
“But I hit him real hard the first time, and I pancaked him. That made me think, ‘Wow, I think I can be real special here.’”
Pair his impressive frame with improving fundamentals and a mean streak and you get one of the state of Texas’ best 2014 linemen. And Knox hopes he isn’t done growing.
“I haven’t even grown facial hair yet, so of course I’m going to grow an inch or two before I graduate,” he said.
A lot can still change between now and then. Knox plans to camp at as many schools as he can this summer and is prepared to travel all over the country.
Not because he wants to get his name out. That’s already taken care of. This is about research, about finding the perfect fit among all the elite schools that have already shown interest.
“Just to be a sophomore and Nick Saban is telling your coach to call him up so he can offer you personally, I mean, that’s the No. 1 team in the nation’s head coach telling you they want you,” he said.
Saban wasn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last. Knox knows his big decision is still a long ways away, but he said he gets fired up when he thinks about the growing expectations.
“I have people looking at my every move now, and that’s exciting to me,” Knox said. “I’m going to show all of them that offered me that I’ll give them my best.”