HOOVER, Ala. -- Welcome to the SEC, Trevor Knight.
We never really stopped thinking about you.
Two years ago, you and your Oklahoma Sooners were the talk of media days. Only, it wasn’t you exactly. Instead, it was Alabama answering for what you did to them in the Sugar Bowl, beating them by two touchdowns. Where did that game come from, by the way? More than 300 yards and four touchdowns against that defense? You had some of us believing that Nick Saban’s dynasty was over. You had yourself looking like the next Brett Favre.
And now you’re back, and things have changed. This time you were actually here at media days, in person, answering questions as Texas A&M's new starting quarterback. Was it weird for you, too? Alabama’s dynasty is back on track and now you’re here to threaten it all over again. Circle your calendar: October 22 in Tuscaloosa.
“We thought he was an outstanding player,” Saban said of Knight last week. “He did a great job in the game that he played against us in the Sugar Bowl. Very athletic; was very accurate throwing the ball. So I think he’ll make a significant impact at A&M and certainly be someone that’s a challenge for us to contain because he is a dual-threat guy with experience.”
But the real question is whether you’re the same player that Saban remembers? How can you be?
You said it took a “leap of faith” to leave Oklahoma. You said it’s weird knowing that this will be the first time you’ll play in a football game where your twin brother isn’t on the sideline. You said you’re confident, but you also said that confidence was the difference after that Alabama game in New Orleans, the difference that led to you losing your starting job in Norman.
“There were several different things that happened,” you said. “I think I played really well at times after that game that no one really talks about because I did play not so well at times as well. There are a lot of things that go into that. I think confidence is probably the most important. When you battle injuries and when you lose your spot, things like that, it’s a confidence killer. Whether you feel that or not, subconsciously it’s there.
“I will say right now it’s a fresh start, I’ve got more confidence than I’ve ever had in my game just being in a new conference, a new place, new team, new offense and being named the starter again.”
Who knows whether a second chance means you can become an elite quarterback again? But so far you’re saying all the right things. And it doesn’t hurt that your receivers are among the best in the conference, either.
What’s more, they seem to believe in you.
“He's come in determined. ... We saw before the coaches even announced it that he was going to be the guy to win it,” said Ricky Seals-Jones, who touted your leadership.
Coach Kevin Sumlin is clearly a believer of you as well, calling you the “right guy personality-wise” at quarterback. Translation: you’re the furthest thing from Johnny Football and Kenny Trill, and that’s a good thing.
“The things that have happened to him in his life have made him who he is,” Sumlin said. “As positive as things got for him at Alabama, it got as negative for him to lose his job to Baker Mayfield. So here’s a guy who is a very mature guy, is pretty level-headed, is able to see, ‘I’ve had good things happen, I’ve had bad things happen, and I know what the good looks like and what can happen,’ and he’s been able to share that.
“That, I think, really we filled a void for him and an opportunity to come back because he was committed to A&M a long time ago, and come back because he’s from San Antonio. So we filled a void for him to be able play and be closer to his family, and he filled a void for us as a guy who was not just a graduate transfer quarterback, but a guy who had actually won as a quarterback and played in big games and brought a maturity level for us.”
So, Trevor, are you ready to play in big games again? Texas A&M needs you to help it get back on the national stage. Sumlin, meanwhile, needs you to help him off the hot seat.
Welcome to the SEC. You’ve got one year with us, so make it count.