The road was long and winding but Madison, Miss. native and former 2016 Alabama signee Nigel Knott has made his way to Oxford. The Under Armour All-American snubbed the in-state Rebels five years ago for the Crimson Tide despite overtures from then-head coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels’ staff.
Knott had a host of notable Power 5 offers coming out of Germantown High School in 2016, choosing Alabama over the Rebels and Auburn, Cal, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Southern Cal, Tennessee, and Texas A&M among several others.
Once he arrived in Tuscaloosa, though, he redshirted his freshman year and played in a total of 12 games while battling nagging injuries. After transferring to East Carolina, Knott’s time there was, again, dampened by injuries.
After entering the transfer portal again, he re-connected with Lane Kiffin, who recruited him while at Alabama in 2016, and former Michigan defensive coordinator DJ Durkin who tried to sign him to come play for him in Ann Arbor.
The former 51st overall player in the 2016 class caught fire when he went viral for several videos of him displaying his superb athleticism.
And, again at Nike’s The Opening, he put it on display.
Aaaand one more time for good measure at a random high school game.
But, make no bones about it, the dude is more than party tricks.
Knott was clocked at 4.38 at that same Opening competition in the 40-yard dash and jumped 44” in the vertical. So, the talent is there. During his career at Germantown, he finished with 191 total tackles and eight interceptions. Two of those interceptions his senior year were returned for touchdowns despite his season being cut short due to a knee injury.
As a junior, though, he was a 6A All-State selection after making 112 tackles, 16 pass break-ups, and picking off four passes.
The son of former Rebel David Knott brings elite athleticism to a defense that is starving for playmakers in the secondary. The 2020 Ole Miss defense was dead last in the conference in yards per game and were shred to pieces by team’s with a competent passing game. Knott is someone that, when healthy, can help shut team’s aerial attack down with his ability to be sticky in coverage and win one-on-one battles with his elite leaping ability.
The 5-foot-11, 178-pounder will look to bring some quality depth to Durkin’s defense. As a walk-on, he does not count against the 85 number and, hey if you’re going to bring on someone “free of charge”, it might as well be a former high school All-American that Nick Saban signed, right?
Knott earned his bachelor’s degree at Alabama and will arrive in Oxford with two years of eligibility remaining due to being declared medically ineligible in 2019.