By BRIAN SMITH
ST. MARYS — Jared Knous, who played all over the field for the St. Marys Roughriders and became the worst nightmare for every Western Buckeye League quarterback during his senior season — will now move on to the next level.
Knous announced on Tuesday he will play college football at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne.
The 5-9, 155-pound senior defensive back and running back led the Western Buckeye League with eight interceptions in 2013, was the Riders’ leading tackler with 71 stops, averaged 6.7 yards per carry as a running back and was the Riders’ most dynamic kickoff returner.
Knous went to a one-day camp at St. Francis as a junior, liked the campus and decided that it would a great place for him. Knous talked to St. Marys grad and record-setting running back D.J. Manning about the football experience at St. Francis under head coach Kevin Donley, as well.
He said St. Francis, an NAIA school that went 9-3 in 2013, likes his skills translating to the next level likely as a slot wide receiver.
“They like my speed and my quickness,” Knous said.
Knous, the son of Wendy and Mark Knous, plans on majoring in mathematics education.
Knous became a First Team All-Western Buckeye League, First Team All-District and Special Mention All-Ohio level defensive back in 2013, leading the Western Buckeye League in interceptions. Along with the eight picks, he broke up 10 passes, recovered two fumbles and caused another fumble. As a kickoff returner he averaged 24.1 yards per return and took back an 89-yard return for a touchdown.
He credited his work in the weight room and a lot of film study as the keys to his season. Knous said sometimes high school players don’t take film study seriously, but it helped Knous become a terror to WBL quarterbacks.
“People don’t think watching film helps, but if you watch it all the time you really get an edge on your next opponent,” Knous said.
Knous favorite of the eight picks this season?
“Probably against Van Wert,” Knous said. “I got the interception and just slammed the ball down. I just stared at that one and it was perfect and then Coach Yahl came over and slapped me on the helmet. It was perfect.”
Knous said his first touchdown as a Roughrider against Sidney as a sophomore is the moment that he’ll remember most from his time at St. Marys.
“I got the ball on back-to-back plays, both eight sweeps,” Knous said. “The first one I took it 10 yards and then the second one I dodged one defender and dove into the end zone.”
While the final two seasons didn’t go quite the way the Roughriders would’ve liked, Knous was a constant for the Roughriders. His defensive back coach Nick Yahl said his effort never waned.
“He always worked hard,” Yahl said. “And he’s great in the classroom.”
Even in the midst of an 0-10 season, Knous’ finest performance may have been his last at St. Marys. In Week 10 against Van Wert he led the Riders in rushing with 106 yards on 14 carries, led the team in receiving with four catches, returned a second- quarter kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and intercepted a pass.
“I always wanted to make the people watching me proud,” Knous said. “I always wanted to get better. I felt like I owed it to them to go the extra mile.”