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When did Bob Stoops know Trevor Knight was special?

Stoops: “All of us watching practice a year ago would sometimes shake our heads — ‘Wow, did you see that, what he just did?'”
by Jenni Carlson Published: August 26, 2013

NORMAN — Bob Stoops was impressed by Trevor Knight the first time he saw him playing scout team quarterback.

But by the middle of last season, he was more than impressed. He was convinced he had a big-time ballplayer on his hands.

“You see it early in the year,” Stoops said, “and then mid-year, you're like, ‘This doesn't change. It's every day.'”

The arm and the accuracy. The legs and the elusiveness. All of it was on display every time Knight took to the practice field as a true freshman.

Now, it will be on display for all the world to see.

Knight got the nod over Blake Bell as Oklahoma's starting quarterback last week, and while the move shocked many around college football, those who have seen Knight play since he arrived on campus aren't surprised in the least.

That starts with the Sooners' head honcho.

“All of us watching practice a year ago would sometimes shake our heads — ‘Wow, did you see that, what he just did?'” Stoops said during his weekly lunchtime press conference Monday.

And here's what's most interesting in what Stoops had to say about Knight — his throwing abilities stood out. Stoops mentioned them first, then came back to them time and again.

“This guy is on the mark,” Stoops said he remembered thinking. “He throws a great ball.”

Don't misunderstand, Knight's running ability impressed him, too — “He runs, takes off, does some things with it,” Stoops also remembered thinking — but it sure sounded as though it was Knight's arm that really amazed.

He threw it into tight spaces. He hit receivers while on the run.

Interesting, isn't it?

The free world assumes Knight won the starting job over Bell because of what he can do with his feet. He's quicker. He's more elusive. He's able to extend plays in a way Bell isn't.

And teammates keep saying things that make you believe that more and more.

“I feel like if you put him in Texas A&M's offense ... and you take Manziel out, it will be the exact same,” Sooner linebacker Corey Nelson said.

All that Johnny Manziel did last season was break just about every freshman record in the SEC, win the Heisman Trophy, then put an exclamation mark on his season by shredding the Sooner defense in the Cotton Bowl.

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by Jenni Carlson
Reporter and Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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