New Hampshire Football Report

Big things expected from Knight

DURHAM – Trevor Knight put up one of the most productive seasons ever for a University of New Hampshire quarterback in 2017. He’s coming back for his senior season in the fall looking to improve on an impressive campaign, looking for a little more.

“One of the things I really like about working with Trevor is he has really high expectations for himself and the team,” said Keith LeVan, UNH’s new quarterbacks coach. “He’s showed up every day with a great attitude, trying to get himself better. He’s not just going through the motions as an established guy who has played a lot football around here. He’s really set the tone for that position and the offense, to try and get the most out of each day.”

Knight and the Wildcats are closing in on the end of spring football. The annual Blue-White game that wraps up the spring is set for May 5 at 11 a.m.

Knight played a limited role during his redshirt freshman season and was the starter the bulk of the games his sophomore season before becoming the clear No. 1 last year.

He responded by completing 291 of his 471 passes (61.8 percent) for 3,433 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

His 245.2 passing yards per game were second best in the league and the 3,433 total was the second highest in a season at UNH behind only the 3,797 yards Ricky Santos put up as a senior in 2007.

“He’s really a special kid,” said LeVan, who was a standout UNH wide receiver as a classmate of Santos. “His talent is through the roof. He’s got a great ability to extend the play. Because he’s played so many snaps, he knows where everybody is. He’s fun to watch go out there on a daily basis. . . . He’s got the arm talent. He can make every throw in the offense. There’s no doubt about that.”

Knight’s total of 5,271 passing yards ranks eighth on UNH’s career list.

Most importantly, he led the Wildcats to their 14th straight appearance in the NCAA Division I FCS tournament last season, which is the longest such streak in the country.

UNH scored 22.1 points a game last year, which was the fifth-best total in the Colonial Athletic Association.

One of the goals for this season is to boost that number a bit. Cutting down on the number of quarterback sacks allowed is part of the equation.

“I’ve talked to Trevor a lot about situational awareness,” LeVan said. I think we probably took a few too many sacks last seasons, not necessarily just him but as an offense. That’s something we spent a lot of time in meeting rooms just talking about, having a faster internal clock or making decisions just a little bit quicker.”

While there’s no question who the starting quarterback is, things are lively amongst the quarterbacks, LeVan said.

“They’re a competitive group, as all quarterbacks are,” he said. “They’re pushing each other for completion percentage and touchdowns and all that stuff. There’s good healthy competition in there right now.”

Sophomore Christian Lupoli is the other quarterback with experience. He came on in relief for an injured Knight last year during a second-round playoff win over Central Arkansas and led the Wildcats to a win.

“Christian’s done really well this spring,” LeVan said. “He’s proven that he can go out there and help this team and this program. . . . He’s been a very accurate passer and he’s got a good understanding of the offense. He’s got a good grasp of protections and concepts and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The other quarterbacks in the program are sophomore Stephen Hedberg, a 6-foot-3 and 192-pound left-hander, and redshirt freshman Tommy Herion, 6-foot-1 and 185.

“You can kind of see Stephen’s confidence growing every practice,” LeVan said. “Things are moving a little slower for him and he’s having some success out there. He’s just a great kid to have around. He’s got a great attitude and enthusiasm throughout practice.”

Herion, who’s from Chicago, was recruited by UNH out of high school, but elected to take a preferred walk-on offer from the University of Iowa. He transferred to UNH and enrolled in January.

“He has a really high football IQ,” LeVan said. “You wouldn’t know that he was the new guy in the room. He’s picked things up quickly and he’s brought a lot of that healthy competition to the position. He’s playing at a really high level right now and kind of pushing the whole group along.”

LeVan is one of several changes on the offensive staff for the Wildcats. He replaces Ryan Carty as quarterbacks coach. Offensive line coach Alex Miller and receivers coach Michael Ferzoco are handling Carty’s other duties as offensive coordinators. Miller is the run-game coordinator and Ferzoco is the pass-game coordinator.


Allen Lessels is the UNH Insider. Follow him on Twitter: @UNHInsider.

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