Mississippi College Standout Steven Knight Takes Pro Football Dream to Germany
August 15, 2013
Thousands of miles away from home, former Mississippi College standout Steven Knight has taken his pro football quest to Germany.
After months of strenuous weight lifting workouts at the Courthouse gym in Flowood and hours sprinting up hills, the 24-year-old Pearl native recently landed a spot on the roster of the Hildesheim Invaders in mid-August.
It’s one of the teams in the European American football league, with Knight saying he’s enjoying his new teammates in the historic city of more than 103,000 residents in Lower Saxony, Germany.
Knight has let MC supporters, friends and family members back home know of his pro football journey to the northern Germany town via a few Facebook messages. His new hometown is the headquarters of splendid attractions like St. Michael’s Church, and St. Mary’s Cathedral.
After his overseas flight to Germany, the former criminal justice major noted this trip was the longest distance traveled for a member of the Knight family in Central Mississippi.
As many of the 178 Choctaws football prospects arrived August 14th to move to the Clinton campus, MC football coach Norman Joseph said one of his daughters told him of Knight’s move to Europe.
Wishing him much success, Joseph said there are a number of reasons why Knight would be a valuable asset to a pro football team in Europe or anywhere else. There are few NCAA Division III players on pro football rosters, but he believes Knight comes equipped with the determination and skills to make it happen.
“Steve is a great worker. He always kept his body in great condition, and has different speeds,” Joseph said. ”It seems like Steve changes gears in mid-stride. And he’s also not afraid to block. He always puts the team first.”
In addition, Knight is “an outstanding receiver out of the backfield – he’s a double threat,” says the Choctaws coach as Mississippi College gears up to battle Millsaps in the September 7th Backyard Brawl in Clinton.
A superb player at Northwest Rankin High School and Hinds Community College before coming to Mississippi College, Knight closed out his senior year at Mississippi College in Fall 2011 with an extraordinary season. Wearing No. 7, the Pearl native racked up 1,200 rushing and receiving yards and scored 13 touchdowns to power the Choctaws offense.
The son of Vic and Terrie Knight, Knight was invited to the Tampa Bay Bucs training camp last summer and was among the last people to be cut from the NFL team.
In mid-August, Knight is playing running back with a European team that will face opponents like the Hamburg Pioneers, the Hannover Spartans, the Ritterhude Badgers, and the Osnabruck Tigers. Not exactly at the level of the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints or Baltimore Ravens, but a number of European football players end up signing with NFL rosters.
Former Mississippi College teammates like Sam Maze think Knight’s determination and natural athletic abilities will pay off in Europe.
“What makes Steve so good is he’s a student of the game,” says Maze, an admissions counselor at the Baptist-affiliated university who played on MC football teams with Knight from 2009 through 2011. “He’s got God-given ability making him a phenomenal athlete.”
Knight stands at 5’9” and weighs 195 pounds. Packed with muscles, he can quickly bench press 225 pounds 25 times. He’s been videotaped leaping over taller teammates during practices at Robinson-Hale Stadium and elsewhere. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds.
When interviewed last summer before his bid to land on an NFL roster, Knight said, “I know I’m going to make it. I just have to.”
He’s just as focused to make a name for himself in one of the oldest cities in Northern Germany.
Other MC football stars landing in the NFL have included Fred McAfee, a Philadelphia, Mississippi native who’s a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame, and now serves as director of player personnel for the pro team in the Big Easy. Playing briefly for the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns was All-American receiver Jake Allen. The 2008 MC graduate also played in the Arena Football League and now is a high school football coach.
These days in mid-August in Germany, Steven Knight finds his time is limited for conversations with family and friends back home in the Magnolia State. IPhone users can send him a message, but Knight is staying busy this summer grinding out yardage for the Hildesheim Invaders.
Photo: Former Mississippi College star running back Steven Knight picks up big yardage.