Andy Hodges

Knox goes against trend in college sports, staying with Hogs

If Trey Knox’s quiet confidence translates to the field, the Hogs could be set up with one of the top wide receiver groups in the country.

In today’s world of college athletics where too many players bail at the first sign of problems, Trey Knox stayed put at Arkansas.

If Knox had chosen the revolving door of the transfer portal, nobody would have been surprised.

“It’s just best to stick it out,” Knox said after Thursday’s practice where the Hogs again worked in shorts and no pads. “That goes through a lot of people’s minds. I want to be here, I want to help this program go back to the top, be at the top.”

Like noted earlier, that’s a refreshing change of pace in today’s world.

Knox started fast as a freshman, actually a faster start than Treylon Burks, who was the highest-rated of a talented group of wide receivers that came in before the 2019 season.

He had 21 catches in the first four games, then a hip pointer slowed him and he finished with seven catches in the last eight games. But he started all 12 games.

Last year was a disaster for the rising junior.

“Last year, I had a lot of problems,” Knox said. “Last season didn’t go the way I wanted it to.”

Part of it was being sick, although he didn’t hit that it was covid-related.

“I don’t know … just throwing up and losing weight,” he said. “I lost 10 pounds before fall camp started and was just not feeling myself.”

That wasn’t all of it, he admitted later.

“I was thinking (too much) on the field, but this year I just find myself going and playing,” Knox said. “That’s coach’s (Kendal Briles) biggest thing … he doesn’t care if you mess up, just go fast, play fast.”

Coaches can usually tolerate errors of commission much better than omission. The translation is, simply, make mistakes at full speed.

“I finally figured that out,” Knox said. “I’m fitting in very well, moving a lot better, not thinking as much and just going out there and playing.”

While Knox’s illness may not have had anything to do with covid, a bigger problem for him was not having the regimen of a spring practice. That’s been a question not many people have answered honestly, but Knox did.

“Not having that spring and then being not 100 percent at the beginning of fall camp really put me at a step behind everyone else,” Knox said. “I need repetition, repetition because I want to know exactly what I’m doing play in and play out.”

What he’s done is work on every area.

“This offseason I’ve been focused on getting faster, putting on weight,” Knox said. “I’ve already gained, like, eight pounds. Just trying to better myself, keep my head down and work because I’ve got faith in myself … the coaches have faith in me.”

Other players have noticed, too.

“He’s worked his butt off,” safety Simeon Blair said. “He’s gotten better at running routes, just trying to take his entire game to the next level.”

For an offense that’s going to has questions at quarterback adding an experienced, talented wide receiver that has shown he can make plays will be a welcome addition.

Knox is confident he’s gotten his wagon out of the ditch it sailed into sometime last spring and summer and his words sounded quietly confident Thursday afternoon.

“We’re going to be alright,” he said with a quiet confidence.

If that translates to the field, Knox could form the nucleus of one of the best wide receiver groups in the country with Burks and Mike Woods.

Which will help anybody playing quarterback.

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