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September 09, 1998 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 9, 1998 23

Marcus Knight has changed his thinking -
and emerged as a force for the Wolverines
By Jim Rose

His is the kind of story you root for.
For a couple months there, Marcus Knight
was a forgotten man. Actually, that's not even
totally accurate, because there weren't very
many people who knew who he was. He was just
hanging around in the background, one of sever-
al Michigan receivers treading water but making
no waves, while Tai Streets soaked up most of
the headlines.
And when it was announced last spring that'
Michigan had landed a pair of blue-chip wideout
recruits for the fall of 1998, there was no reason
for anyone to think about Marcus Knight. His
was a name from the past. There were other
names to learn. David Terrell. Marquise Walker.
The receivers of the future.
And Terrell and Walker may indeed be the
receivers of the future. But while the newspapers
and the magazines focused on the incoming
freshmen, Knight quietly decided that he wasn't
going down without a fight. He decided to
become one the receivers of the present.
So he worked on his game. Ran routes. Did
sprints. Worked on his hands. Knight worked
harder than he ever had before.
And, lo and behold, he won a starting spot.
"It's now or never," he says, explaining his
mindset when he heard that a pair of freshmen
were being groomed for the spot he thought
should be his. "That's what I say to myself all the
time. Now or never. I mean, this is my junior
"Opportunity only comes along every once in
a while," he says. "Now that I've got an oppor-
tunity, I'm gonna do everything I can to take

advantage of it."
And against Notre Dame, he took advantage
of it. He busted out. Made five catches fbr 126
yards. To put that in perspective, Knigt had
caught 7 passes before last Saturday -jin the
past two years.
Suddenly, it seemed, he'd become a top-notch
receiver. But although Michigan fans likely were
surprised to see Knight's numbers last weekend,
another man was expecting them. His coach.
Two weeks ago, before the start of the season,
Lloyd Carr called Knight "the biggest surprise
of the fall," saying the junior had worked him-
self into a position to compete for a starting
spot. And that, in itself, was a surprise tolmany.
But in the days leading up to the trip toSouth
Bend, Carr - who calls Knight "an outstanding
kid" - was convinced for good.
"He's finally becoming the receiver we always
thought he could be," Carr says. "He's a guy that
has excellent speed. Against Notre Dame, he
made two outstanding catches that created big
'plays for us. He gives us - along with Tai
Streets, and Diallo (Johnson) and the two young
kids - another outstanding receiver."
Surely, Knight's season-opening performance
took many fans by surprise. But to say that it
came out of nowhere would be a disservice to
Knight. And he's the first to acknowledge that it
wasn't just a matter of waiting his turn. Rather,
his emergence this fall is the result of a change
in mentality and plenty of soul-searching.
Simply put, it took more than wind sprints to go
from sideline spectator to starting
See KNIGHT, Page 24

The Knight File
Height: 6-foot-1 Eligibility: Junior
Weight: 173 Hometown: Sylacauga, Ala.
Year: Junior High School: Comer

.. ,.. _ .

Marcus Knight
brought this Tom
Brady pass in for
a gain of 51.
yards. Knight
hauled in four
other passes dur-
ing the afternoon
and solIdified his
standing as one of
the Wolverines'
starting wide

University of Michigan
Late Tryouts
September 13
10:00 am-12:OOpm
Contact Head Coach
Steve Burns
741-9866 or".
Come play for the
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