E.A. Sports Today

Christian’s call

Alexandria’s Knop makes his choice, commits to N.C. State a few hours before the Wolfpack wrap up a top five finish at the NCAA Championships

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN – Christian Knop had seen a lot of coaches and taken a lot of phone calls. He has decided he’s had enough of this recruiting business.

Driving back from a private lesson at his wrestling club in preparation for nationals at Virginia Beach Saturday, he pulled off the road and with the Gadsden Mall as a backdrop made it official.

The three-time undefeated state wrestling champion from Alexandria has committed his considerable wrestling talent to North Carolina State.

“I’ve thought long and hard about my college decision and I’ve finally decided,” Knop said on a Facebook Live post. “I would like to announce I’d like to further my education and athletic ability at N.C. State University.”

He unfolded a black wind shirt with a Wolfpack logo as he made his proclamation.

“I’ve thought long and hard about this,” he said. “They’re a top five school. This is where I want to go. Go Wolfpack.”

Knop won his third straight state title last month when he pinned Deshler’s Monquavias Ricks in 1:45 for the 1A-5A 182 title to complete a third straight undefeated season. He extended his high school winning streak to 164 in a row (56-0, 58-0, 50-0). He also was named the 1A-5A MVP.

He needs 38 wins to break Weaver six-time state champion Michael Sutton’s state record for consecutive victories (201). If he runs the table again next year he will become the first wrestler in state history with four straight undefeated state championship seasons.

“We were on the way back and it’s like I’m tired of all these coaches calling me and I’d say N.C. State is the place I want to go,” his father Curtis said. “They’re killing it at the (NCAA) Tournament this week, too.”

A few hours later N.C. State wrapped up a T-4 with Michigan at the NCAA Championship.

Football coaches would love to get their hands on Knop, but he is all about wrestling, he has said, because a wrestler has to rely on himself for his success. He wrestled 182 this year, but the Wolfpack are said to want him to wrestle at either 197 or heavyweight.

He won’t be able to sign until September, but his father said the commitment is solid.

“I think it will be a good fit for him and allow him to focus on his senior year with that decided,” Valley Cubs coach Frank Hartzog said. “Trust me, he didn’t rush into anything. He has done his homework and put a lot of thought into this decision. Go Wolfpack.”

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