Demetrius Knox wants to play with a high school teammate, which could favor the Longhorns early (Photo by the author).
A few years from now, if 2014 Fort Worth All Saints offensive tackle Demetrius Knox fulfills his immense potential and begins collecting an NFL paycheck, he would probably do well to keep his uncle in mind.
A fortuitous conversation between his mother and uncle lead to his move from the Dayton/Springfield area in Ohio down to the Metroplex and helped kick-start his recruitment.
"You know, my uncle and my mom were on the phone one night and he just said to my mom that he thought that being in Texas would help me football-wise," the 6-5, 300-pounder revealed to SB Nation Recruiting in College Station on Thursday, where he was out supporting his All Saints teammates as they participated in the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Championship.
The affable Knox paused to laugh as his startling green eyes sparkled.
"I guess he was right," he added.
Currently sitting at 10 offers, there's no question his uncle's opinion has been substantiated. And that's not to say that Knox could not and would not have received the attention he is currently garnering from some of the top programs in the country had he stayed in Ohio. After all, the Buckeye state is one of the producers of talent in the Midwest, if not the best.
But Texas? The football-mad state is on another level entirely, arguably with the capability of providing exposure far above and beyond that of any other state in the union.
There are currently eight schools standing out for Knox --Ohio State, Texas A&M, UCLA, TCU, Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, and Texas. Of those schools, the potential collegiate offensive tackle does not have offers from Oregon or Florida State.
As for the Longhorns, Knox said that he has a "wink-wink" offer fromprogram. What does that mean? Texas doesn't offer juniors until their Junior Days in February, but they are increasingly telling prospects that they are approved for an offer, which essentially provides an indication that they will receive one if and when they do make it to campus at that time.
Knox already has a high opinion of the Longhorns, despite his lack of time in the Lone Star state, despite the lack of an official offer early.
"Texas will always be in the mix. If you can't succeed at UT, you shouldn't be playing football," he said.
A camp in June was an eye-opening experience for both Knox and the staff.
"It was great," the Texas transplant said of his time competing there. "It was kind of awkward, because coach Searels took me out of my age group and put me in with the 2013 guys. I did great at the UT camp. It was fun. It kind of shocked them a little bit that I was a sophomore."
In addition to the approval for the offer, the coaching staff putting Knox with the older players is often a sign of high esteem from Mack Brown and his assistants, as they did the same thing with other prospects in the past, including current 2012 commit Jake Raulerson, who was told that he was the best offensive and defensive lineman in attendance at a 2011 camp when he dominated 2011 commits.
The Texas staff was surely impressed that Knox even made the trip, and he indicated that he was equally impressed by them.
"Their coaching staff, it's great. They told me that I did a great job. I was sick as a dog that day, but it was a big deal for me that I actually showed up and I wanted to keep my word," he said.
Surely a big deal for a coaching staff that highly values in-person evaluations at camps, too.
It was the first time in Austin for Knox, who received a bit of a late call from Brown asking for a meeting.
"Me and my teammates, when we were leaving, coach Searels and Mack Brown called my head coach and asked where we were because they wanted to meet with Daniel Gresham, Kendall Adams, and I. We were about 30 minutes down the road."
Two other schools are generally considered to be in the top part of his eight favored schools -- Ohio State and Alabama.
A Buckeye fan growing up, Knox indicated that those ties are still strong, despite the fact he no longer lives there, and did say it will play a role in his recruitment.
"I mean, it will always be an impact. If you're born in Ohio and grew up in Ohio, you're a Buckeye no matter where you go."
Even though he's from the area, he's never been on the Ohio State campus, and, unlike many other prospects, isn't heavily swayed by the reputation that Meyer brought with him from his highly-successful time in Gainesville as the Florida head man.
"You know, I really don't know too much about him," the big tackle revealed. "I've talked to him three or four times, so I'd like to go up there and touch base with him a little bit."
As for the Crimson Tide, Knox was effusive in his praise for both the program overall and the way that head coach Nick Saban extended him his offer.
"I mean, what's not to like about Alabama?" said Knox, presumably rhetorically, "I like everything about Alabama, but what really stands out is how I was offered. Nick Saban called up my coach and told him to get me in the room so he could talk to me. He talked to me for a while and he had gotten out of a meeting to talk to me, a sophomore, so that's big."
Plans for a June visit to Tuscaloosa fell through, but Knox indicated that he and high school teammate and close friend Daniel Gresham, a running back projected by most as a fullback in college, will try to take in an Alabama game this season when the Tide take on the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboy Stadium in early September, a game that both schools clearly intend to use as a major recruiting tool to increase their collective exposure in the state of Texas.
Despite the lack of an early offer, Knox wants to make it out to Eugene to learn more about the Oregon program.
"I'm hoping to get up to Oregon some time this summer before school starts, because I really want to touch base with them," said the All Saints product.
The up-tempo, high-flying Duck offense is often a major attraction for skill position recruits, but it's also appealing to the kid known as Meech by his friends, a reference to a Rick Ross song.
"I mean, they're a top program," he said of Chip Kelly's program. "I like their coaching staff and their conditioning coach. I love the way that their line coach gets their linemen in shape."
"That's my playing style - I like to play fast, hurry up and get back to the line. I don't want to be one of those big, sloppy linemen. I think I'm pretty much a fit lineman."
Knox is certainly the latter and not the former. While many offensive linemen do look sloppy in t-shirts or compression gear, he carries relatively little bad weight on his 300-pound frame.
There is another significant factor in his recruitment -- he wants to play with Gresham in college. Many recruits talk about wanting to play with their friends at the next level and such plans rarely come to fruition, but Knox and Gresham are a bit different in that they actually have a plan of action already in place, even at such an early stage in their respective recruitments.
"Senior year, we're going to sit down with our head coach and look over our offers. Whichever schools we both have offers from, we're going to go from there. If he lands that Texas offer, it would be really big, because we want to go to the same school, so the two of us at UT could be a possibility."
In fact, Gresham has been told by the Texas staff that he has a similar "wink-wink" offer to Knox, so the Longhorns are clearly ahead in that respect early, even though neither is official --
So, a message to Nick Saban and the rest of the schools recruiting Knox -- you may want to get on the horn to Gresham and let him feel some love in the form of his first official offer. He's not bad himself and Knox looks like one of the elite lineman prospects in the country for his cycle. Do it. Like, yesterday.
Just FYI, coaches.