We were in attendance this past Friday when Long Beach Poly (Calif.) hosted L.A. City section power Van Nuys (Calif.) Birmingham. Following the game, we caught up with Patriot junior running back Milton Knox Jr. who told us he already has a couple of scholarship offers to his name.
Knox, 5-8, 200 pounds has been one of the state's top backs since his freshman season. He was even better a year ago earning all-state underclass honors after rushing for 1,606 yards and 26 touchdowns while catching 21 passes for 336 yards and three more scores.
Knox has been compared to former UCLA running back Maurice Drew but the two actually although similar in size, have different running styles and strengths. Drew is much faster and more of a breakaway threat than Knox will be. Although Knox has good speed, he doesn't have the ability to score from anywhere on the field like Drew. Knox is much shiftier than Drew, has a nice wiggle to him and is more inclined to make you miss where Drew was more apt to run over a defender rather than try and juke or go around him.
This past Friday, we expected Birmingham to give Poly all they could handle. It just wasn't meant to be however as the Jackrabbits smashed Birmingham in a surprisingly easy 46-8 win.
"I honestly think some of our guys were intimidated by them," Knox said. "Part of it is their name and plus the size of those guys is incredible. I've never seen a bigger defense and their line was just all over us. I really didn't get much of a chance to show what I could do because those guys were coming at us so fast and with so much size."
Knox still impressed rushing for 75 yards on 27 carries. That may not sound like much, but those were 75 of the toughest yards you're going to see and he got every bit of what he could have. In our eyes, the mark of a great back isn't just getting the easy yards when his line blows open a huge hole, it's what does he do when there is no room to run. Can he make someone miss or break a tackle? Knox was able to do that and a lesser back, honestly, would have finished with about 20 yards with the room Knox had to operate.
On the recruiting front, Knox said he's hearing from everyone and said two schools have put offers out for him.
"Mississippi and UCLA have both offered me," Knox said. "Just about every school in the country has sent me something and I'm getting recruited pretty heavily right now. Florida State, Notre Dame, USC, you name it. At this time, I'm totally open and really don't have any leaders yet. It's still early for me so I'm just going to enjoy the process."