MCGILL: Good Knight Saves Best for Senior Season
The Word on the Herd -- Oct. 29, 2016
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Josh Knight’s football career at Marshall University, it turns out, is nothing like a TV dinner.
“This is a microwave society,” MU receivers coach Todd Goebbel said. “Everybody wants something right now. You applaud people who take their time and work their butt off and when an opportunity presents itself, they maximize it. That’s what he is doing.”
Knight, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, caught two passes for 13 yards as a sophomore in 2014. Last season, he upped his production to three receptions for 44 yards. The former 2-star prospect out of Fort Pierce, Florida, had never caught a touchdown pass before this season.
Entering the eighth game of the regular season – Marshall (2-5, 1-2 Conference USA) plays at Southern Mississippi (4-3, 2-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. – Knight leads the Thundering Herd in receptions (35), is second in yards (419) and is tied with Michael Clark for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (four). Three times this season Knight has set his personal career high for receptions in a game, including each of the past two games.
In fact, in the season’s second game against Akron, Knight had more receptions, yards and touchdowns in those four quarters than he did his first three years on campus.
“He’s a grinder,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “When he got the opportunity to make plays he’s done that. He’s been a tremendous player for us in a lot of other areas throughout his career. He’s now getting rewarded.”
Knight watched and waited his first three seasons as Marshall slot receivers piled up numbers. The first two seasons he was on campus it was record-setting slot Tommy Shuler who posted eye-popping statistics. Last season it was Deandre Reaves who emerged as a breakout receiving threat during his final season on campus.
Reaves’ departure left a void on offense. It became Knight’s time.
“It was a lot of patience,” Knight said. “After I saw what Reaves did last year I knew I had the opportunity to do the same thing.”
Knight’s breakout came against Akron, when he had seven catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He scored again in a loss at Pitt.
Then he established a new career high for receptions (nine) and yards (128) in a win against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 15. He followed that up with a career high 10 receptions for 94 yards last week against Charlotte.
Knight is ninth in Conference USA in receptions and 12th in receiving yards. Not too shabby for an oft-forgotten receiver who caught only five passes in his first three seasons. His attitude and persistence is an example for teammates and future Marshall players to follow.
He stayed patient, stayed focus and stayed determined to make a difference.
“You definitely have doubts,” Knight said, “but you surround yourself with a great group of people who keep you positive and keep you motivated – and I’m already positive and motivated. It’s hard to bring me down.”