The second week of the 2021 spring high school football in the states of North Carolina and Virginia and the Heel Tough Blog hit the virtual road once again. This week, we headed back on the 2022 trail to scout 4✮ WR Shaleak Knotts as he and the Monroe Redhawks took on conference foe Marvin Ridge.
Knotts was only targeted five times on the night, but caught four of those five targets for 55 yards. While he wasn’t as productive as he probably wanted to be on the offensive side of the football, he did play every defensive snap of the night for the Redhawks, finishing with three total tackles and two pass deflections. He had a good night in coverage, as he was targeted four times allowing just one catch on a well designed screen play.
Knotts is one of the top receivers in the 2022 class and he was able to show off a few of the reasons why he is rated as highly as he is. On his longest reception of the night, Knotts showed his ability to go up and get the football, one of the best aspects of his game. He has an impressive frame that allows him to make plays in tight coverage and over the middle of the field. His ability to make plays with the football in his hands after the catch makes him one of the most complete receivers in this class and he is a very solid route runner, as well. Although he didn’t display it that much on Friday, Knotts has some good straight line speed, but he doesn’t really possess the speed to take the top off of the defense. While that likely means he won’t have much of a chance to factor in as a returner, his solid tackling ability could allow him to be a valuable special teams member, something that could help him make an early impact if he was to sign with the Tar Heels with all of the talented young receivers that the team already has at their disposal.
Knotts is one of the top wide receiver targets in this class for the Tar Heels and right now all the signs are pointing towards them being one of the top contenders in his recruitment early on. South Carolina and Penn State are teams that seem to be the biggest threat to the Tar Heels right now, but it still seems to be pretty early in this one and there is a good chance that other teams will enter this race before its conclusion, but the Tar Heels appear as if they are one of the teams that could be in this until the end.
This was the first of three games that we will be scouting from this past Friday. We will have ones on 2022 4✮ CB commit Tayon Holloway and 2023 PRO target Tad Hudson that will be released later on this week.