Last Friday, one day before Iowa State was set to host Baylor, there was speculation on campus that Cyclones senior linebacker Jake Knott wouldn't play against the Bears due to a lingering shoulder injury. As it turned out, Knott was arguably the best player on the field, turning in 11 tackles with a forced fumble in a 35-21 Iowa State win and earning the title of Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. One day after the game, however, it looks like it will be Knott's last as a Cyclone: According to coach Paul Rhoads, the two-time All-Big 12 pick will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the ailing shoulder, likely ending his stellar college career.
The injury originally stems from last December's Pinstripe Bowl loss to Rutgers, and was reportedly re-aggravated in Iowa State's Oct. 20 loss at Oklahoma State. After Saturday's game -- his first in a brace designed to protect the injured shoulder -- Knott told reporters that he was taking the situation "day by day" and seemed to suggest the shoulder would be fine.
"It's not bad. I went into the game and told myself I wouldn't think about it," Knott said. "And I didn't. I can deal with it tomorrow. I'm used to that. … There are a few options. But once again, I'm just going to take it day by day and see where that takes me."
Rhoads said there is an outside chance Knott could return for a bowl game, depending on the success of the surgery and what doctors find when they operate. Otherwise, the 6-foot-3, 253-pound senior from Waukee, Iowa, will go out with 324 tackles (205 solo, 119 assisted) to his name over the last three years, along with eight interceptions and 10 forced fumbles. As a sophomore in 2010, he was voted honorable mention All-Big 12 after finishing third in the conference with 130 tackles; last year, he was voted first-time all-conference by Big 12 media types and second-team by Big 12 coaches. Through eight games this year, Knott was the conference's leading tackler with 79 total stops, 55 of them solo.
Knott is considered a possible late-round pick in next spring's NFL Draft, as is Iowa State teammate A.J. Klein. Behind Knott on the depth chart, there's sophomore Jevohn Miller, who has played in every game this year but hasn't recorded a tackle since the Cyclones' Sept. 29 loss to Texas Tech.