BYU Football Countdown: Player 34 – Defensive push

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
Tom Hauck /Allsport
Tom Hauck /Allsport /

The College Football season continues to get closer as BYU Football is now only 34 days away.

There are only 34 players left in the in Top 100 countdown. To this point it has been a pretty good mix of just about every position from kickers to quarterbacks. You will notice that as we get closer to the season kicking off that there will be more quarterbacks than any other position. In fact, nine of the remaining players are quarterbacks, which should come as no surprise as quarterbacks do make the most impact and are typically the most memorable.

Today is not one of those days however. Today’s player is a defensive tackle who loved to cause havoc in the backfield to other quarterbacks.

No. 34 Shawn Knight – Defensive Tackle – 1983-1986

Shawn Knight was a pretty good player for three seasons at BYU and a great player for his senior year. Defensive tackles typically don’t get a ton of statistics as their main job is get pressure on quarterbacks, close gaps in the offensive line and cause havoc to the offensive linemen.

Normally, they cause the havoc which opens up a space for linebackers or defensive ends to get into the backfield and get the tackle. While Knight definitely did do this, he also got quite a few tackles.


Impact B+

Knight was only a sophomore during the 1984 National Championship season however he spent quite a bit of that season injured, limiting his impact. He was a huge impact player for the rest of his career. Whether is was opening up holes for other defenders or getting in the backfield, Knight helped the Cougars to keep a really good record in 1985 and 1986.

Statistics B+

During his first two seasons, Knight played a limited role not recording a lot of statistics at all. For his career, he recorded 129 total tackles with 23 sacks, seven tackles for loss, 27 QB hurries, four pass breakups and three interceptions. In 1986, Knight had 16 sacks which is tied for second all-time for BYU. Again, defensive tackles normally don’t have a ton of tackles, but his 60 tackles during his senior year is impressive.

Memorable Moments B+

Getting into the backfield 23 times sacking a quarterback is memorable in itself. That is ninth all-time for BYU. The three interceptions are also impressive and memorable since defensive tackles rarely come down with INT’s. The most memorable moment of his career probably is in the 1983 Holiday Bowl when the Cougars were trying to hold beat Missouri in the Holiday Bowl. The Tigers had a fourth down inside the redzone and were trying to essentially end the game by picking up a first down and then either scoring a touchdown to make it a two possession game or run the clock out. While the play is a mosh pit of players falling over each other, the defensive push and tackle was because of Knight which gave the Cougars the chance to win the game and set off their 1984 season in the right direction.