Recently, I had a discussion with Winnipeg Blue Bombers wide receiver Kelvin McKnight regarding both his life and career. Last year was his first in the CFL, and although he wasn’t too high on the depth chart, he always worked hard enough to stay around. Now, McKnight has re-signed for the 2022 season, and is looking to have a larger role on one of the league’s most dominant teams.
McKnight played college football at Samford, an FCS program in Alabama. Despite having offers from larger schools, McKnight chose Samford due to their pass-heavy offense led by head coach Chris Hatcher. He would go on to spend four seasons there (2015-2018), becoming the school’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.
His quarterback, Devlin Hodges, also broke the NCAA FCS record for career passing yards. Hodges is currently with the Ottawa Redblacks, and the two have a close relationship. McKnight and Hodges were together for all four years in college, creating an elite connection that could go up against the nation’s powerhouses.
In 2019, McKnight signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent. Despite being a standout through training camp, he didn’t make the final roster, ending up on the practice squad instead. He would later join the New England Patriots that season, but didn’t see any playing time there, either. McKnight was then out of football for most of 2020, even after making a return to Denver.
McKnight found his next opportunity with the CFL’s return in 2021, as they had canceled the previous season due to COVID-19. Despite Winnipeg having a strong receiver room headlined by Kenny Lawler (now on the Elks), McKnight’s past experience secured his spot with the team.
He would go on to alternate between the active and practice rosters, finishing the year with 19 catches for 93 yards. McKnight would have likely seen more action in the return game, but Janarion Grant had already filled that role.
McKnight was also inactive for the 108th Grey Cup victory, but claims that both the experience and environment are something he will never forget. Getting to learn from the best is always valuable, and McKnight can hopefully carry that knowledge into his second season.
All in all, McKnight should be a name to watch in the coming months, and is developing into a weapon the Blue Bombers can use on their road to a third straight championship.
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