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Dodd on the McKnight Bandwagon

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I have hammered Dennis Dodd in the past for bone headed things he has said but every once in a while he gets one right. Dodd's article on McKnight reiterates what I said a couple of weeks ago about how McKnight is charting his own path not just for football but for his life after football.

When McKnight went West, the reaction was swift and cruel.

My kids think you suck because you didn't go to LSU one e-mailer wrote.

You don't have any state pride, one critic said.

You'll sit on the bench for three years, said another.

Drunk on their own sense of entitlement, maybe LSU fans didn't know there is a long list of high school running backs who have left New Orleans. Marshall Faulk ended up at San Diego State. From Curtis High alone, Jonathan Wells (Ohio State), Chris Howard (Michigan) and Reggie Dupard (SMU) went elsewhere.

Or maybe that's the point. The fans were aware of the exodus.

As noted elsewhere The SEC is THE most rabid fan base in all of college football and these sorts of actions show it but McKnight continues to be unphased. Their misplaced sense of entitlement is what makes it difficult for them to understand that sometime you have to woo the players that you want instead of just expecting them to commit to the local program just because they are from the neigborhood. McKnight understands that there are no guarantees and he comfortable with competing for playing time instead of being THE premier back at LSU just because LSU fans expect it.

[...]  Meanwhile, the local reaction was a shove out the door. The pettiness, McKnight believes, even followed him to a track meet where he was disqualified for wearing black tights, instead of white.

"I think more of that is because I didn't commit to LSU," said McKnight who claimed he wore black at a previous meet without being DQd.

It's silly to talk about an NFL career or even a Heisman, because McKnight doesn't. His college choice followed a pattern that was developed at Curtis. The kid is neither selfish nor afraid of competition. He carried the ball a total of 81 times his last two years of high school. Part of that had to do with hurricanes, which caused McKnight to miss half a season in 2005. Part of it had to do with the character that was nurtured in school.

There is more

"He is a superstar who played within a team concept," Curtis said. "Joe was not the featured player on this team."

What's amazing is that didn't bother McKnight. With friends whispering in his ear that he could get 35 carries somewhere else, he shifted between receiver, running back, cornerback and kick returner.

"You can't look at carries," Curtis said, "You have to look at production."

How about 15 yards per carry since 2005? Out of his 24 catches last season, 13 went for touchdowns.

If he was selfish or afraid of competition, McKnight wouldn't be going to a place with nine other scholarship running backs. At Tailback U., McKnight will be guaranteed nothing except a fair shot.

That might help him in the long run. Out of those 10, one or two will transfer. Some will be injured. Some will change positions. If the running back thing doesn't work, at least McKnight is flexible.

That's where some fan bases just don't get it. This kid is well grounded in his beliefs and he will only rely on himself to make things happen. He is not about Me Me Me. He's a team player with great character, don't tell me that Pete Carroll doesn't recruit character because this is just another example of Pete Carroll knowing exactly what he wants and knowing how it will fit.

I can't wait to see this kid play