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June 23, 2011

Miller, Knox at All-Star Game Media Day

This is Denny in again for Joe. Talked with Lansing Sexton's Onaje Miller and Muskegon DE and Spartan signee Damon Knox today at Media Day for the 31st Annual Michigan High School Football Coaches Association All-Star Game up at Central Michigan.

I'll start with Miller since he recently was released from his letter of intent at Michigan State. He said he is just trying to focus on the All-Star Game, not what is going to happen next or what led to him getting his release. He also said he has not talked to any schools. I think it's worth pointing out that he committed to MSU really early - all the way back in February of 2010. If he had been a later commit, I think there would be some schools that could swoop in and contact him and it would have been easier to communicate with programs and coaching staffs. If staffs had seen him as a solid verbal to MSU, the contacts from other programs may have dried up long ago and it will take time to re-establish those contacts.

Muskegon defensive end Damon Knox really impressed me when I spoke with him. After interviewing Miller and some of the other mid-Michigan area players that will be playing in the game, I went up to grab a bottle of water from a table on the second floor of the room we were in (the players were standing on the first floor conducting interviews). I saw Knox in the hallway leading towards the stairs to the second floor and knew who he was instantly. He's a big kid, which surprised me even more when he said he was still growing into his body. He's tall too at 6-foot-5, but with Will Gholston and Tyler Hoover each being 6-7, tall seems to be what the MSU coaching staff is looking for in a defensive end recruit. The way Knox made it sound, his body could take on some more weight if the coaches wanted him to be a defensive tackle. However, the Spartans took their fair share of defensive tackles in the 2010 recruiting class, so I look for Knox to stay at defensive end. A large, athletic defender who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds is going to make his living rushing the passer, not plugging the run.

Knox said he did not know if he was going to redshirt or play as a true freshman but wasn't too concerned about it because either way he'd still be a member of the Michigan State football team. He explained that the coaches really want to get him in camp and see how well he moves to be able to determine if he needs a redshirt or not. When I spoke with Muskegon High School coach Shane Fairfield when doing our annual Catch 22 at the LSJ, Fairfield said that Knox was really good at running things down and pursuing the play. With that said, the MSU coaches could like what they see when Knox gets on campus and gets in camp.

A complete advance of the 31st Annual Michigan High School Football Coaches Association All-Star Game will be available in Saturday's LSJ. Ryan Bort will be covering the game from Kelly-Shorts Stadium. If you'd like to watch a live stream of the game, you can do so here.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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