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May 26, 2012

Knox expects to play big at Challenge

MORE: Five-Star Challenge | Underclassmen Challenge

Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Demetrius Knox, all 6 feet 5 and 300 pounds of him, is a physical presence in just about any room he walks into.

So long as he is not in any room of his own house.

"I am the short one in my family," he said with a laugh.

One of the top offensive tackles in the class of 2014, Knox towers over many but in his family picture he wouldn't make the back row.

"My cousin is 7-1, my older brother is 6-8, and my dad is 6-6," he said. "I'm just a little guy."

Knox will be making the trip from Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal to Atlanta's Lakewood Stadium and the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge to show just how big his play can be.

"It is a really exciting opportunity," he said. "It is an opportunity to show what I have and see what I am getting into.

"I will finally get a chance to go all out and show what kind of a player I am and I get a chance to learn from the mentors and coaches that will be out there. This is only going to help me along the way."

Knox has been using each season of his high school career to learn something new. It has been a process that has helped the 16-year-old mature as a person and a player.

"It has been both relaxing and stressful," he said. "Having scholarship opportunities already makes things easier, but being young I have to be a leader on my team and being both a verbal and physical leader can be tough."

Knox said that both his coach and family have helped taking steps toward his future.

"I started on varsity as a freshman and my coach saw I was good," he said. "But he told me not to be too verbal because I was so young and to just let my play do my talking so I was really quiet but put in a lot of work.

"This year, my sophomore year, it felt more natural to start taking charge vocally too and with the other leaders on the team I feel like I made some strides with my leadership ability."

At an early age Knox knew that his family has set academics and then athletics as a priority for him and his siblings.

"Since second grade I can remember my parents talking about getting good grades and getting a scholarship," he said. "Grades were first but hard work and athletics were a part too. Without an offer we weren't going to college and it was stressed that college was important to success."

Growing up Ohio, Knox has always been an Ohio State fan, but he feels that his move to Texas has put him in a stronger place to get to college.

"You live football here, really," he said. "In Ohio, at least where I was, it was something fun to do outside of school but here it is live, breathe and sleep football.

"I have probably becomes 10 times the player here that I could have been there."

Knox said that he wouldn't change anything in his childhood - or wish for an earlier move to Texas - but said that getting on the field in Texas has been a blessing and his time at All Saints Episcopal is something he would like to replicate in college.

"I love the relationship I have with my head coach," he said. "That will play a big role for me in my decision. A head coach has to have a relationship with me more than just 'Hey, how you doing?' and I know they run big programs but for me it is their job to connect with me."

It was his connection to the game that is what will make him one of the best in his class and his fuel to get better that will help in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.

"I want to get better," he said. "I am a pretty laid-back person but I play on the offensive line like a defensive lineman and when I get out there I will be a different person."

Mike Farrell's take

Knox is a massive lineman for his size and he's only going to get bigger based on the size of his family and his frame. He's a strong kid, who comes off the ball strong and is very athletic with light feet. He has a guard build but plays tackle in high school which is an advantage at events such as this because he has the girth to handle interior defensive linemen but his kick slide and footwork are good enough to hang with speed rushers as well. Physically he is ready for the challenge in Atlanta but inexperience could hurt him at first, so we will see how he adjusts.



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