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Kings senior Tyler Knecht may be Cincinnati's most underrated quarterback

Kings senior Tyler Knecht may be Cincinnati's most underrated quarterback
Posted at 7:00 AM, Aug 31, 2016

KINGS MILLS, Ohio -- Kings senior wide receiver Clay Spivey offers no hesitation when speaking about his longtime friend and teammate Tyler Knecht.

“He is just the hardest worker in the school,” Spivey said. “The most underrated rated quarterback in Cincinnati right now.”

Don’t just take Spivey’s word for it.

Knecht, a three-year starting quarterback for the Knights, has a 19-1 regular-season record. At 6 feet 4 ½ and 215 pounds, he has the frame and talent to play at the next level.

He threw for 2,441 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 800 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Division II regional runner-up Knights (11-2) in 2015. He threw for 1,784 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 530 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014.

That resume speaks volumes. But Knecht just has to be patient. That’s not always easy for a player with his credentials. But some college program figures to get a steal.

“Gosh, I think so,” Kings offensive coordinator Alex Garvin said. “I don’t understand how he’s not a top (recruit). He’s a winner. He’s won his whole life. Some of the throws he made on Friday night he was throwing from one hash to the other hash 15 or 20 yards down the field going out of bounds. That’s a big-time throw to me.”

Kings athletic director Tyler Miller has no problem putting forth the extra effort to promote Knecht on Twitter. Miller has watched Knecht blossom from seventh grade to his senior year.

As Miller was driving home Monday night, he thought about Knecht’s college recruiting.

“This is a guy who consistently who puts up 300- or 400-yard games and multiple touchdowns,” Miller said. “I am thinking, ‘where is the love?'

Knecht is expected to have nearly every Kings quarterback school record by the time the season is completed, according to Knights coach Andy Olds.

 

 

 

Knecht, 18, has had interest from Cincinnati, Central Michigan, Marshall, Toledo and Bowling Green, but no official offers as of this writing.

Still, Knecht is not discouraged. His leadership has really shown this early portion of the season. Kings defeated Lebanon 35-7 in the season opener before nearly 4,000 fans at Kings Stadium.

When Lebanon went up 7-0, Knecht took a deep breath and marched his team down the field to help rattle off 35 points.

“He had a great night throwing the ball,” Olds said. “He had great reads.”

Knecht threw for 267 yards on 19 of 29 passing and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He can also articulate to his coaches what he sees on the field -- an excellent asset for coaches on the offense.

“Tyler has the unique ability to see the game happening in the same point of view as the coaches,” Garvin said. “…He is a real student of the game.”

Knecht appreciates the opportunity to play in front of the community on Friday night. Spivey and Knecht have been friends since the third grade. Along with some of their classmates, both used to watch from the hill at the stadium hoping one day to make their own mark on the field.

"It's surreal that the opportunity is here to make all the alumni before us that we looked up to proud and to continue the great Kings football tradition," Knecht said.

Knecht, who lives a short distance from school, has practically grown up with the Knights program. He played a variety of positions in grade school and still has a passion for playing defense -- he loves to tackle -- though that doesn’t seem to be in the cards this year.

Knecht jokes he’s the guy who loves to play pickup football games in the snow, though he admits his size precludes him from doing that with friends at this point of his high school career.

He has taken a great deal of pride in watching film. He understands the run-pass option that makes him an instrumental part of the Kings offense.

“He’s always had that persona even in junior high that all the other kids look to and just kind of naturally follow,” Miller said. “He has done it by being a quiet leader but his play on the field kind of sets the tone for that. He is a great kid; he’s always willing to help.”

Knecht has exhibited not only the physical tools, but his clock management has been essential to the Knights’ success. His music selections and pregame speeches also get his teammates primed to take the field.

"Tyler is a vocal guy but in games he primarily leads with his actions," senior offensive lineman Matt Sichterman said. "He plays tougher than anyone and is not afraid to sacrifice for the team - like diving over defenders and running out to lay down a lead block. He loves to win and is the kind of guys that would do anything for the team."

Spivey knows what it’s like to catch a “cannon” pass from Knecht. Both have a solid understanding of where the other is on the field.

“His arm is so live right now,” Garvin said. “He throws the ball so hard.”

Knecht has a 3.8 grade-point average and is also a leader in the classroom, Miller said. He helped sells T-shirts and tickets in advance of the season opener against Lebanon last week.

“It’s something you like to see get him involved and build up that excitement,” Miller said. “…He’s a steady guy and a kid you can trust.”

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