2:16 left in the game. Meanwhile, Knott had a pretty quiet night, recording just one tackle and two defended passes for a team that eventually lost the game. However, it was something he said to me in our postgame interview that stuck with me for a little while.
“It was great,” Knott said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Now, I would be a liar if I said I knew at that very moment that Knott would turn out to be the figure that he is today. But hearing him express that excitement for Iowa State when there was anything but excitement for Iowa State (the post-Chizik era) told me something about him.
Knott wrapped up his emotional press conference on Wednesday by saying it was a “dream come true” for him to be at Iowa State. From the time before he even put on the cardinal and gold all the way to his last game, Knott never wavered on his stance that Iowa State was indeed the place for him.
If it wasn’t clear by now (and it probably wasn’t really the best-kept secret in Jasper County in the first place), I’m an Iowa State fan. Getting a coach like Paul Rhoads was special enough for Cyclone fans, but getting players like Knott takes things to another level. Knott has been a huge piece of Rhoads’ transformation of Iowa State from a stepping stone program to one that at least isn’t a perennial doormat.
Seeing how Knott was interacting with Rhoads and his teammates after the Baylor win, it was clear that the rumors of his impending shoulder surgery were true. However, it also confirmed another fact about Knott that was far from a rumor — he’s one tough S.O.B.
The stories of Knott popping his shoulder back into place twice during a game last season are well-documented. ISU fans just got lucky this season that Knott’s surgery was postponed to Monday so he could stick it out for one more game — a game in which he recorded 11 tackles and forced a huge fumble — in front of the fans that have come to look at him as something of a living legend.
It is widely known that Knott is having this surgery done now so he can properly prepare for the NFL combine in a few months. If it was anybody else, this would probably be considered something of a selfish move. But since it’s Jake Knott, not one single Cyclone fan can be upset. He has more than earned his shot at the next level.
Fans would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has given more of themselves to Iowa State in recent years, not counting tuition or a fan who dislocates a shoulder after a little too much fun in the tailgating lots.
“All In” has become a rallying cry for ISU fans that is plastered everywhere, including on the team’s helmets. However, Knott has proven that it isn’t just a saying used to look cool on a T-shirt that brings in money.
Jake Knott has been the personification of “All In,” and in return, the Iowa State community is “All In” behind Jake Knott.