He was the center of the Cyclones’ defense, easily their best player on that side of the ball. Now Jake Knott must sit on the sideline and watch as Iowa State tries to get to six wins and become bowl eligible.
Last week, Knott had shoulder surgery to repair a variety of different left shoulder injuries that he had sustained and had been playing through all season. Last season Knott sustained a torn labrum and several dislocated shoulders. Knott was injured again against Oklahoma State this season in what proved to be the culminating injury.
“He’s played through a lot of pain, which is a tribute to him,” Iowa Stead head coach Paul Rhoads said. “His toughness and his overall selfless desire to be a team player. It was never ever about Jake Knott, it was always about the Iowa State Cyclones.”
Knott was Rhoads’ first recruit in Ames and he turned out to be a valuable one. The outside linebacker from Waukee, Iowa, was a two-star recruit coming out of high school and ranked ninth in the state of Iowa according to Rivals.com.
Knott and fellow senior A.J. Klein are considered to be one of the best, if not the best, linebacker duo in the Big 12 conference. Knott is also the top tackler on the Cyclone defense with 79 total tackles and 55 solo tackles in just eight games. Knott also picked up two interceptions and a sack this season.
After an 11-tackle and one forced fumble performance against Baylor, Knott was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Last season, Knott dislocated his shoulder multiple times against Baylor. At one point he popped it back into place so that he could go back onto the field and continue playing. With the dislocated shoulder, he made 18 tackles against the Bears. Against Missouri, Knott also played through a broken finger.
Knott is no stranger to injury and has been willing to play through pain in order to help the Cyclones, but he decided to undergo the surgery in order to be 100-percent healthy for the NFL combine should he be invited.
In 2011, he finished as an Associated Press First-Team All-Big 12 honoree and a Sports Illustrated honorable mention All-American. Knott ranked third in the conference and 48th in the country with 115 tackles a year ago.
Knott finished his Iowa State career with 347 career tackles, eight interceptions, and 10 fumbles. His tackle count is good for the most in Iowa State school history, and fifth in Big 12 history.
After many seasons in the Big 12 cellar, the Cyclones were hoping to rise, but without his help on defense, Iowa State may struggle for that elusive sixth win.
Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Surgery sidelines Knott for season