Smyrna’s Knight commits to Blue Hens

 

Smyrna’s Will Knight has verbally committed to play for the Blue Hens next year. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

One of the most decorated high school athletes in the state is moving on to the University of Delaware.

Will Knight, a rising senior at Smyrna High, announced he has given a verbal commitment to the Blue Hens on Saturday.

The star running back has led Smyrna to back-to-back Division I football state championships and has been a two-time first team All-State honoree. He also won the 2015 state’s Offensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore.

For Knight, the opportunity to play college ball less than an hour away from where he grew up in Smyrna, was too good to pass up.

“It’s real special because I’ll have all the support from home,” Knight said. “Everyone can come support me and see what I do best right here in Delaware. It’s an opportunity for all the fans who have supported me over the last few years to keep supporting me and watching me play.”

Knight also had offers from Coastal Carolina, Monmouth, Albany, Morgan State and a few other schools.

He said the new Delaware coaching staff, led by first-year coach Danny Rocco, is what helped make his decision.

“The coach brings a good vibe and always invited me to things on campus to help get me comfortable there,” Knight said. “They did a great job recruiting. All the players and coaches up there showed a lot of love and made me feel welcomed.”

Knight is coming off a junior season at Smyrna where he rushed for 1,339 yards and 24 touchdowns in 12 games. This came after his Player of the Year season in 2015 when he rushed for 2015 yards in 13 games with 33 touchdowns.

Smyrna coach Mike Judy said he thinks Delaware is a perfect fit for Knight.

“They’re getting a steal,” “I think being from a small state, people kind of found out about Will late in recruiting. UD did a really nice job of getting to him when they did. I think it’s a great choice. Coach Rocco and his staff are extremely passionate about Will and they did a great job communicating how important he is to the and how much they would love to see him in Blue and Gold.”

“When you’re a Delaware boy you see them as the pinnacle in this state,” Judy added. “It’s a dream come true for him.”

Knight’s verbal commitment means he can be reunited with his longtime friend and teammate Nolan Henderson.

Knight and Henderson have played together their whole lives in Smyrna. Henderson was the quarterback the last two years when Smyrna won its two state championships and was the 2016 high school Offensive Player of the Year.

“He was just telling me how he would love to play with me,” Knight said about his contact with Henderson during the recruitment process.

“But he didn’t want to push me too hard. He said he would support whatever I did, wherever I went. It’s a blessing though. Not a lot of people get an opportunity to go with someone from Pop Warner all the way to college. It’s a really special feeling.”

Henderson will likely redshirt this year at Delaware, meaning he could play with Knight for four years starting in 2018.

“When those two get close to cracking the lineup they better rope off an entire section for Smyrna fans,” Judy said. “We’ll all be up there in droves. These kids grew up together and now they’re able to play together more. I couldn’t ask for a better situation for both of them because UD knows how good they are.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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