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Alabama coaches lock in on developing opportunities for Nigel Knott

Alabama CB Nigel Knott (No. 13) high-pointing passes in Wednesday's practice for Missouri: Brian Pride - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The beginning of Nigel Knott’s playing career at the University of Alabama has been a mixture of everything, and he is still waiting on certain aspects to fall into place. He’s tackled a serious knee injury and has had moments where his confidence slipped; however, finding himself spiritually has positioned him for a chance to recapture what was once thought to be stolen from him. 

Hailing from Madison, Miss., Knott was the young man that local Crimson Tide reporters were chasing down the street with a camera. A unanimous four-star prospect, he was a major factor upon his arrival on campus because of him being one of the top cornerbacks in the 2016 recruiting class and No. 5 corner (No. 36 overall) — according to the ESPN 300 network. 

Despite being the same height at 5-foot-11, Knott has added some weight.  

He came in at around 160 pounds, but is now at 182. During Nick Saban’s presser on Wednesday, media pundits were trying to figure out who else is the coaching staff looking to emerge in the secondary – aside from Saivion Smith – with Trevon Diggs out (broken foot). 

Knott was the first person that entered the mind of yours truly and upon grabbing the microphone, Saban immediately responded on the redshirt sophomore. 

“Nigel is working hard and I think he sees that there is an opportunity for him to play.”Saban said. “He’s made some plays out there. He’s gotten a little bigger and a little stronger and I think that has benefitted him tremendously. I think he has a little more confidence in knowing what to do now and how to do it, so he is certainly one of the guys that needs to step up for us.” 

Not even horrific camera angles from ESPN could stop Knott from making a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff against Arkansas on last week. His efforts on that play confirm that his speed has returned to where it once was.

His main focus is to become mentally prepared for what is about to be thrown upon, in terms of being in a “next man up” role. A lot of people believe he can do it and after much turmoil early on, Knott has a chance to prove that he will excel.

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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