New York Jets UDFA Zonovan Knight making early roster case

One of the highlights of the preseason is watching undrafted rookies fight for a roster spot, knowing they have an uphill battle from the start. The New York Jets may have one such undrafted gem in their backfield through a week of training camp.

Running back Zonovan Knight has been off to a solid start at training camp and the number of eyes only grew larger after Friday’s practice. They say the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Well, lately, Knight has been tearing it up and very lately, as in the last play of practice Friday, Knight busted out a 65-yard touchdown run.

As ESPN’s Rich Cimini pointed out, a defensive player did blow a run fit, but the fact remains Knight was able to find the hole and bust through for a big score, ending practice on about as high of a note as you can.

While at North Carolina State, Knight (5’11”, 209 pounds) averaged 5.5 yards per carry on roughly 140 per season during his three-year career in Raleigh. That’s the second-highest yards-per-carry mark in Wolfpack history. He had rushing totals of 745, 788 and 753 each season and score 18 touchdowns, including ten in 2020.

In 2021, he carried 140 times for 753 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 21 catches for 156 yards receiving. All that came despite missing spring workouts because of offseason shoulder surgery.

Knight showed very good running ability and fights for every yard. He’s explosive and tough to bring down. He’ll build a strong case to be a spell back behind Breece Hall and Michael Carter. Knight is battling with Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine on the depth chart.

Knight can also return kicks. In fact, Knight posted the highest kickoff return average in 2021 at 34.4 yards per kick return.

Knight will have a chance to showcase his running ability on a bigger stage next Friday when the Jets open the preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles. If he can continue breaking out big runs like he did Friday, the Jets’ coaching staff will have a very tough time parting ways with Knight at the end of the preseason.

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