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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Knotts Landing: Ripley lineman finding early success

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  • RIPLEY - Bradley Knotts has the size that many offensive linemen would be envious of. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, he has all of the physical traits you look for at the position.
    Knotts also frequents the honor roll where he carries a 3.6 GPA and has been active in student council.
    He isn't just numbers in a press guide either. The junior was athletic enough to play basketball through his freshman year, when he decided to hang up the shorts, at least for now.
    "I just wanted to focus my winters on football related training. I love basketball but football is where my focus and heart is," said Knotts.
    This season, a position switch from guard to center was suggested by his coaches and it isn't completely unfamiliar territory. He played center in youth football through his freshman season before moving to guard at the beginning of the 2012 season.
    The Vikings spread attack requires the center to make most of his snaps out of a shotgun formation, which puts added pressure on the center to get the ball to the quarterback cleanly. The Vikings have abandoned last season's zone blocking scheme in favor of a more traditional style of offensive line play.
    "I am pretty familiar with the position but this is high school ball and I really have been working on technique and getting my snaps in the shotgun formation smoother," said Knotts.
    "I feel like I have come a long way in a pretty short time. I really like it."
    Ripley's first year head coach David Tennant has been impressed with Knotts' progression at the position.
    "Bradley has a great work ethic and a lot of ability. We're really looking for him to step up and be a major contributor to the offense this season. He has the tools to do very well at the center position," said Tennant.
    Knotts credits his father, Steve for encouraging him to work hard and hone his craft as a lineman.
    "My Dad is pretty incredible. I wouldn't have done half of the things I have done without him behind me. My parents are very supportive of what I want to do."
    What he wants to do after high school is play some college football and study broadcast journalism.
    "I want to be a sports broadcaster. My dream is to work for ESPN," said Knotts.
    With Knotts' passion for sports and outgoing, likable personality, anchoring Sportscenter could be a very realistic career path for the Viking.
    Knotts also is the co-leader of "The Mob", Ripley's student section that seems to make the most noise at Ripley High basketball games. Senior Jake Casto shares the title with his enthusiastic classmate.
    Knotts' older sister, Chelsey starred in cross-country for the University of Tennessee and it seems that a family tradition is beginning to take shape.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Vikings finished (5-5) last season in the rugged Mountain State Athletic Conference and were realistically three plays away from making the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
    "We have a playoff berth in our minds. Coach Tennant is so positive about everything and he likes things to be upbeat with the offense, which I like. I think we can be a really good football team. We have to keep working hard," said Knotts.
    Based on what those in the Ripley High football family say about this offensive lineman, working hard comes naturally.

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