NORMAN — Earlier this summer, Trevor Knight called his parents and asked for their prayers.
“I just have felt a little overwhelmed lately,” he said.
His mother, Tricia, was taken aback by the admission, but also happy to hear it.
“He’s never expressed that to us,” Tricia Knight said. “I told him, ‘If you talk to anybody, you should talk to your parents. You need to tell us if you feel overwhelmed.’
“Between summer workouts, class, film study … I think it was just a lot.”
But that wasn’t even close to everything OU’s sophomore quarterback took on this summer. He joined several other OU athletes on a mission trip to Haiti; he was heavily involved in the planning and revealing of the Sooners’ new alternate uniforms; he worked as a camp counselor at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana and he’s helped organize weekly prayer gatherings on OU’s South Oval with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Knight will add another summer chore Tuesday, when he travels to Dallas as one of five OU player representatives at Big 12 Media Days.
“I feel like Trevor works a full-time job and puts in a lot of overtime,” said Adam Barnett, the college pastor at Norman’s Journey Church who organizes and leads an annual trip to Haiti for OU athletes.
Knight began his summer there, working and proselytizing in the impoverished country. Tricia Knight said his first Haiti trip in 2013 was a truly eye-opening experience that actually helped get him through some of the football difficulties he faced a few months later.
Knight was named the starting quarterback for the Sooners’ season opener, but because of a knee injury and some inconsistent passing, he lost the job after Week 2.
“He kinda had a rough year last year with the injuries, losing his starting position … I think having the spiritual life he does and going over there and seeing how those people live, that’s the kind of thing that gets him through times like last year,” Tricia Knight said.
“He never, ever complained once to us. He never said, ‘This is horrible.’ or ‘Poor me.’ He just fought and did what he had to do to get on top again, and I really think that first trip to Haiti had a lot to do with it.”
Barnett said that on this trip — without the initial culture shock many experience their first time in Haiti — Knight took on a leadership role with the group.
“I have a lot of fun leading that group every year, but Trevor being on the team is such a blessing,” Barnett said. “He’s leading by example, motivating his peers.”
After that, Knight spent time preparing for the unveiling of Oklahoma’s new alternate uniforms. He modeled the new look for photographs weeks before the uniforms were revealed to his teammates.
“He got to be in on the groundwork of it,” said George Knight, Trevor’s dad. “It was always explained to him the tradition that was behind those uniforms. For a kid who didn’t grow up in Oklahoma, learning some of that tradition and feeling like he’s part of it really got him excited.”
Knight was also invited to be a camp counselor at the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., along with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of Florida State, Baylor’s Bryce Petty and other elite college quarterbacks.
“It was like a dream come true for him,” George Knight said of spending time around Peyton and Eli Manning.
Between all of those obligations, the Sooner quarterback also took summer courses and continued to develop his leadership skills as the clear-cut starting quarterback during Oklahoma’s grueling summer workouts.
“He keeps a level head and shows a lot of discipline in the way he manages his time,” Barnett said. “I’m proud of him for keeping his priorities straight. He could very easily get those out of order, but he doesn’t.”