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Posted: December 12, 2016 9:22 a.m.

Alcovy's Kyrese Knox commits to Independence Community College in Kansas

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Alcovy's Kyrese Knox is on his way to Independence Community College after a solid senior season on the football field.

Just a little more than a week ago, Independence, KS. wasn’t on Kyrese Knox’s map. But apparently, Knox was definitely on there’s. 

So when the 5-foot-10, 165 pound senior defensive back received a scholarship offer from Independence Community College, at first it seemed like something that would elicit just another good feeling — much like that of his previous offers from Avila College, Highland and Hartnell Community Colleges. 

But when Independence paid Knox a home visit, that’s when everything elevated for him. Knox took to Twitter Sunday afternoon to announce that he’d committed to Independence, and for him, it was like a dream come true. 

“I’m excited about it,” Knox said. “When we sat down with (defensive backs) coach (Jason) Martin, everything seemed right. I really liked what he was telling me, and the plan they say they have for me.” 

For Knox, part of that alluring plan is Independence’s intentions of expanding his role from just being a traditional cornerback to playing some nickel. He did both at Alcovy, and had a strong senior season with 31 tackles, 10 passes broken up and only had five balls caught on him despite being thrown at 29 times, and gave up no touchdowns. 

Knox said his versatility as a defensive back is something he takes pride in. 

“At nickel, I get more action in the game,” he said. “That’s why I love to play it. At corner, most of the time at Alcovy, I was playing man, but when I get to play nickel I’m free to roam and make plays all over the field. That’s what I want to do. That’s where I see myself.” 

It was at the nickel spot where Knox says one of the toughest, yet best things to happen to him in his young football career took place. 

Knox suffered a concussion while trying to make a tackle against Forest Park that sidelined him for two weeks. It happened while the senior was trying to stop the Forest Park quarterback from getting into the end zone.

"I was guarding the No. 2 receiver at the time, and I saw the quarterback scramble," Knox said. "I took off running to meet him at the pylon, and then he jumped and his knee hit me in my helmet." 

The play didn't immediately knock him out, though. 

"I looked at the film and saw that I stood back up," he added. "I played a little more. But it wasn't until I was walking back and forth on the sideline and I kept asking why Koby (Perry) wasn't in the game that they realized something was wrong, and they checked me out." 

Knox admits he was a little fearful about the potentially negative effects missing two games of his senior season would have on him. But it was that fear which actually served as the impetus to come back better than before the injury.

"When I look at it, I'm kind of glad it happened, because it made me more hungry," Knox said. "I became a hungrier player, and that caused me to just go out and work and grind that much harder on the field to make up for those missed games."

Now that his college choice is squared away, Knox said he plans to work just as hard in the classroom. He wants to major in sports management or sports medicine, but also won’t rule out engineering. Although he wants to parlay his time at Independence into a scholarship at a Division I program, he realizes that his time as a football player does have an expiration date.

"I definitely want to make sure I get my education and have other things I can do when football is done," he said. "Football is great, but it doesn't last forever." 

Knox was part of a group of players who helped first-year coach Chris Edgar to a 4-6 record in 2016 — a drastic reversal of fortunes for an Alcovy program that went a combined 1-19 during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. 

Knox said the turnaround and the coaching from Edgar that helped produce it morphed him into a player more suited for achieving at the next level. 

“We all just worked hard,” he said. “We held everyone accountable for what we were doing. Everyone was just serious about this season, and about getting better. Nobody was happy with 1-19.” 

Now Knox said he’ll work on getting bigger and stronger physically between now and the beginning of his college career. 

“I’m trying to put some weight on because once you get to college, you can’t go at 165 pounds,” he said. “I’d like to get to 180 before I even step foot there, if I can. I think that will set me up pretty good.”

Pick up next Sunday’s print edition of The Covington News for more on the challenges Knox faced during his senior year that propelled him to be a better player. 

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