The 5-foot-10 corner was the seventh commit in Florida State’s 2021 class. Overall, he is listed as the 515th best player nationally (high 3-star), and the 37th best cornerback. In Tomahawk Nation’s cornerback recruiting article, Knowles was described as a player who “...can play on an island and is fluid in transition from jamming the wide receiver to covering downfield.”
That sounds like pretty words, but when you look at the tape — you can see it’s more than just those.
Immediately you see a confident player who has that “dog” in his game. What is “dog?” That’s not easy to describe, but it’s something you hear thrown about quite a bit these days. Let’s discuss certain aspects of his game and then check the film for confirmation.
Knowles gets in a receiver’s face to press and has the quickness and confidence to succeed in a tight space. He stays on the balls of his feet, doesn’t reach, and mirrors the release. Many corners lose by reaching, but Knowles stays back, remaining in good position to mirror. I’d like to see his jam technique. We’ve seen some describe him as “springy” or “bouncy,” but those aren’t football terms. He’s athletic through his feet and ankles allowing him to be very quick. Watch his feet on the play, as he gets his hips open with tight steps. Once Knowles adds bulk, receivers won’t be able to get into his chest like in this clip:
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “he plays with an edge.” Well, Knowles plays with an “edge.” What that edge is or where it comes from, I don’t know, but he’s fierce. He’ll fit in nicely at FSU alongside some of the all-time “dogs” who’ve played corner. This may not be a physical trait, but something many of the great DBs possessed:
In phase is how you describe a DB who’s in perfect relationship between the ball and the WR. Knowles utilizes loose hips and quick feet combined with good long speed to run with receivers on various routes. He lives in the hip pocket throughout his clips. When he finds himself out of phase, he always fights to get to the ball: