May 8, 2012

NJ lineman has his eyes on Army

Lineman Hunter Knighton currently can boast on having offers ranging from Purdue, Rutgers, South Florida, Navy, Old Dominion, UMass, and Buffalo, as the interest continues to grow for the prospect out of the Hun School in Princeton (NJ)

Honestly, I've been doing this (coaching) for 23 years and my guess is that he's a kid who will go on the national level (recruiting)," says Hun Head Coach Dave Dudek, who confirm the offers that his lineman shared that he already has on his recruiting resume.

"I know that Nebraska has been out to see him, I know Iowa is coming tomorrow."

Knighton chimed to discuss what has been unfolding surrounding his recruiting. "Navy offered me at their spring game on April 14th ... It was actually great as I went down with my coach's son, who plays for Navy," shared Knighton, when referring to Hun's Head Coach Dave Dudek and son Brendan, respectively.

The Midshipmen weren't the only school to extend an verbal offer to the 6-foot-5, 267 pound lineman during their spring close out. According to Knighton, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers offered him during his visit at their spring game.

"It was great ... they had a lot of fans there, which is real nice to be playing for a team with all that support and great atmosphere," he adds. "The coaching staff is great and I liked it a lot."

Needless to say, the Hun School's reputation of being both a solid academic and football institution has attracted many recruiters from schools that place an emphasis on both the classroom and the practice field. Hence, over the past 14 years, the school has placed 95 student-athletes in either Division I or 1A level of play for football, with Knighton surely to add his name to the program's impressive list of football grads. "I know Northwestern has been out to see him and they were very impressed with him," says Dudek. "Stanford has reached out to him."

Although Army has actively recruited players from the Hun School, they have yet to have any success in landing in prospects from the New Jersey based school, but if you listen to Dudek, that just may be a matter of time.

"And then there's Army as well," shares the coach, who is not surprised that the Black Knights are exercising diligence prior to any possible offer forthcoming. "First of all, I respect the service academies tremendously, and it's a whole different world. When you talk about the Division I scholarships that kind of go out like there ... floating left and right. Well it goes one step further with the academies because they have to see if the kid is interested. A college offer is a college offer, but it has to be a kid who is willing to commit the next five years of his life. That's the first thing and the second thing is that there is a legitimate academic process. The fact that Hunter is starting the application process suggest that he has a true interest in Army and I really feel that they will end up offering him. I spoke to Coach Waugh about a month ago and Coach McKeehan came in and saw him last week at our morning running session. I think it went well and he was impressed."

So what is Knighton's interest level in Army? "Hunter told me that he fits in this type of environment (service academies) and that he could see himself in that type of environment for his future," declares Dudek. "He's very interested in engineering and of course it makes sense for him to look at schools such as West Point and Navy."

When it comes to the Black Knights, Knighton is just starting the application process after receiving a school visit from Associate Head Coach, Gene McKeehan, who also handles the offensive guards & centers for Army.

"He (McKeehan) came to our school on Thursday," adds Knighton. "He told me how excited they are about recruiting me and suggested that I start filling out the application now because it's a long process."

"It's (West Point) a great school and I'm interested in all of the academies ... educationally they are great. I have never visited West Point, but I plan on visiting this summer."

Beyond seeing his recruiting pickup, the New Jersey prospect remains committed to getting better, bigger, quicker, and stronger. "I'm lifting everyday, where we have morning workouts with the team and we do speed work and agility," states Knighton. "I'm trying to gain a little bit more weight and I'm looking to go into the season about 275 pounds."

Knighton, could project on either side of the ball at the next level. "It really doesn't matter to me at all ... I think I have the skills for both sides," he said. "Some schools have offered me for defense and some offense."

"He's an outstanding kid, he's a very hard worker, he plays both sides of the ball," says Dudek. "Offensively, he's an offensive tackle and on the defensive side, he plays both DT and defensive end. My guess is that as he continues to grow, that if he was put on the defensive side of the ball, he would eventually bump down as a D-tackle."

"He just plays the game real hard, both in practice and in the games, he doesn't miss anything and has a great attitude ... he's a pleasure to coach."

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