It is a busy time of the year for all college football teams. The effects of COVID-19, however, made training for the upcoming 2020 college football nearly impossible. The months of March through May have been critical in building interpersonal relationships on the team. Players have used this process to make significant changes for their collegiate careers. One of the most recent examples is Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Nigel Knott confirming his transfer to East Carolina Pirates. He has been in the transfer portal since January 27th. Knott finally announced his decision on his Twitter account on May 7th. He is immediately eligible to play for the Pirates.
Alabama Cornerback Nigel Knott Transfers
Inconsistencies And Injuries Keep Him From The Field
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is considered one of the best recruiters in college football. His history in coaching and developing defensive backs made it seem like an obvious decision for Knott to sign with Alabama four years ago. Knott signed with the Crimson Tide as a four-star cornerback out of Madison, Mississippi. 247Sports ranked him eighth in the country at cornerback. After redshirting in his freshman year, Knott only played in two games in 2017 in a loaded defensive backs group. In 2018, Knott played in 10 games with most of his time in the special teams. He accounted for one tackle in the 2018 season.
Knott was expected to compete heavily with another loaded defensive backs group that included senior Trevon Diggs, Patrick Surtain II in a full-time starting position, and an emerging Josh Jobe. Instead, Knott suffered an undisclosed injury that forced coach Saban to rule him out for the 2019 season. It was unlikely that Knott would start ahead of Surtain and Jobe. Jayln Armour-Davis is also expected to be a main contributing cornerback. After extensive rehab, Knott is making the move to Greenville, NC.
Why Knott Chose East Carolina
Back in 2013, the East Carolina Pirates were feeling great about their 10-win season. Since then, they have declined in terms of production. They are on their third head coach since 2015 with Mike Houston going into his second year. His defensive coordinator Bob Trott has been a long-time specialist in coaching defensive backs. He has been a defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach, or an NFL defensive assistant every season since 1984 apart from 2009. That year he was the Virginia Cavaliers’ linebacker coach.
Last season, the Pirates finished the season 4-8, with a 1-7 American Conference record. Defensively, they were ranked 111th in the nation in points allowed per game (33.7) and 108th in passing yards allowed per game (261.6). This was with a solid contribution from true freshman cornerback Ja’Quan McMillan, who accounted for a team-leading nine pass deflections and three interceptions. The Pirates are slated to start inexperienced redshirt sophomore Damel Hickman in 2020. Knott has the potential to contribute immediately as a reliable extra coverage cornerback or as a starter. Knott possesses great speed, quick reactivity, and tremendous athletic ability to make instant change of directions. He also possesses great ball-tracking abilities to make him a great coverage corner in man or zone. Knott has two years of eligibility left for ECU.