Trevor Knight earned the starting job and the respect of his teammates since he arrived at Oklahoma.
By DAVID UBBEN FS Southwest
That's not who he is.
Trevor Knight's not a guy who completes a third of his 21 passes for two yards an attempt. That's what he did in the first half of his collegiate debut on Saturday in a 34-0, but it's easy to believe that's not the same quarterback Bob Stoops named his starter before the season. Quarterbacks who do that don't beat out older players like Blake Bell who've already earned themselves catchy nicknames and statuses as fan favorites.
"Throwing the ball early wasn't very good, but I've got great confidence in how he does throw the football," Stoops said. "Once he settles down and gets more comfortable with the situation, I expect him to throw the ball in a better way."
Knight's high school coach, David Wetzel, offered a reminder that Knight hadn't seen any game action in almost two years. Knight's a guy who threw 27 touchdowns and three interceptions as a senior in San Antonio, Texas.
His next chance comes Saturday when Big 12 play begins in Norman when West Virginia comes to town.
"He's very accurate. He didn't look too accurate his first game, but he's a great fit to the offense, said receiver Jalen Saunders, who caught two touchdowns from Knight in the Sooners' opener.
He's also a guy who hands his dad, George Knight, a boxing glove before his first cancer treatment to better equip him for the fight ahead. (Reached by phone, George Knight declined to be interviewed for this story, per a request from Oklahoma.)
"What 17, 18-year-old kid thinks of that?" said Wetzel, who also coached Knight's twin brother Connor, now a tight end for Oklahoma. "I just know Trevor values, No. 1, his relationship with the Lord, and he values his relationship with his family. He cares very much for other people."
Knight's the son of a dentist and a first-grade teacher who took time in high school to coach a 7-on-7 team stocked with middle schoolers.
"He's great with his teammates because he's going to care about the guy that doesn't get on the field as much as he cares about the guy catching touchdowns or blocking for him," Wetzel said. "He's going to care about you regardless of what you can do for him."
Oklahoma fans saw his ability to make plays with his feet even through that difficult first half, breaking loose for a 24-yard scramble to convert the first third down he'd ever faced in college.
Knight's a guy talented enough to convince Stoops to keep the Belldozer, who scored 24 touchdowns as a complement to Landry Jones in 2011 and 2012, on the bench in favor of a player who hadn't played a snap of college football before last week.
"He's extremely gifted. People who watched him run the other night saw that," Wetzel said. "What a lot of people don't know is how hard he works to better that talent. … In the time he was at Reagan High School, nobody outworked him. A lot of times you get quarterbacks who just want to stretch and throw it a little bit, but he'd be the first one in the weight room and the last one to leave."
He showed his lighter side in the locker room after the first win, showcasing his dance moves for teammates.
"It was pretty funny. Everyone was excited," Saunders said. "He was happy to get his first win."
Knight's 103 rushing yards on 13 carries overshadowed his early passing struggles. He was the first Oklahoma quarterback to top 100 yards rushing in a game since Jason White in 2001. Legendary coach Bud Wilkinson, who engineered a 47-game winning streak at Oklahoma on the back of the split-T offense from 1953-57, would have been proud to see the Sooners' quarterback once again log more rushing yards than passing yards.
"He's a great leader. Players realize just how hard he works. He's a serious kid in how he works," Stoops said.
You don't need to look any further than that work ethic for evidence of how he's gained teammates respect since coming to campus in 2012 and making his first start on Saturday.
"He's a natural leader, so it was like he'd been there before," Saunders said. "The only thing that sets him apart from us is his age. Everyone notices that."
His demeanor already matches a much older player. The Sooners hope Saturday is when his production does the same.