Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national level has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, either, as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 18 and Jan. 22 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Jan. 6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 13 at Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field.
To gain a better of understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
An under-the-radar recruit to some, a well-know prospect to others, Kelvin McKnight from Manatee (FL) earned the respect of everyone as a member of the Class of 2015 when he put on a show for the South in a 39-14 victory over the North at Raymond James Stadium.
Still, to this day, the 5-foot-9 and 188-pound junior wide receiver for Samford is proving the naysayers wrong and lending credibility to the pundits. See for yourself as McKnight and the Bulldogs play Wofford on Oct. 21 in a Southern Conference game at 1:30 p.m. (EST).
This season, in a familiar role as the go-to-guy on offense, he has 661 receiving yards on 51 catches with nine touchdowns in six games, numbers good enough to rank him among the Top 10 players at his position in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
As a sophomore, McKnight was an All-Conference second-team selection with 896 receiving yards on 70 catches with nine touchdowns. Prior to, he was named Conference Freshman of the Year after finishing with 616 receiving yards on 57 catches and two touchdowns.
A protégé of NFL veteran Larry Ryans, there was no denying the fact that McKnight had plenty of upside during his days on the prep circuit. He provided a glimpse, a sample size, of his potential and turned heads from start to finish at the All-American Bowl in Florida.
At the time, Blue-Grey Football CEO Gus Bell said McKnight was the best player on the field. Perhaps more so than most, the head honcho tends to be spot-on when it comes to evaluating talent at all levels, naturally given his well-documented success as an NFL agent.
Bell hit the nail on the head with his assessment of the Ryans-trained McKnight. The numbers, after all, don’t lie. No one can argue with his success back then. And now. As for the future, McKnight seems poised for success this season and the next one. Perhaps beyond, too.