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Miami Hurricanes 2019 Senior Spotlight: Robert Knowles

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Loyalty, commitment, and perseverance are words I use to describe a hometown kid named Robert Knowles as we prepare to celebrate him and others on Senior day.

Virginia v Miami
Honoring Senior Safety Robert Knowles
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Ahh, at last we’ve reached the pinnacle of a college career with Senior day nearly here. For Robert Knowles, this day is bound to be bittersweet. As a hometown kid growing up about eleven miles from campus, Knowles was a standout Safety at Miami Edison high school. He longed for the day he would get the opportunity to don the Orange and Green and walk on the field as a Miami Hurricane. Although this was something he envisioned growing up, he was close to not getting that chance as he committed to the OTHER hometown program, the Florida International University Panthers. It was no secret that Knowles wanted to stay home and play in front of his family, so with only one option of doing that available he was set to be a Panther. But then Tim Harris and Hurlie Brown came through with an offer from the hometown Canes, and it didn’t take long for Rob to change his mind. He decommitted from FIU the following day, committed to the Miami Hurricanes, and hasn’t wavered a day since. You have to respect his loyalty, if nothing else.

Knowles has had a tough go of it as a Miami Hurricane, redshirting his first season, having played for three different Head Coaches (four if you count Larry Smith’s time as an interim HC) in his time on the roster, seeing minimal time on the field primarily as a special teams contributor, and then facing relentless hate from “fans” on social media. Yeah, Rob saw it all... and yet he never wavered.

That took a lot of perseverance, and a lot of maturity. I respect that, and I appreciate that about him. I hope you do too.

If you follow me on Twitter you’ve seen me live tweet shout him out during games:

Here is a rare video clip of Knowles describing his role for the upcoming 2016 season:

Through all of the practices and scrimmages, the running and lifting, the heat, the physical, mental, and emotional pain that come with playing a violent sport, and the rigors of being a student athlete Rob has been steadfast in his love for the University of Miami. He didn't complain, he didn't lash out and get in trouble, he didn’t transfer or leave quietly in 2018 when he got his Liberal Arts Degree as a Science major. He worked. He came in as a kid, and will leave as a man. He did things the way we want our young men to do them. His parents, Robert Knowles Sr. and Joycelon Hester, should both be very proud of him. Our entire fan base should be proud of him too.

When asked why he stuck around as a 5th year senior, Knowles said this:

“I ain’t really no quitter, you get what I’m saying? I love Miami... my parents love Miami. I never wanted to leave. I’ve had ups and downs [like every player], I just stuck around and I stayed focused. I looked at my playbook, do what I gotta do, asked coaches what I got [to do] on a play, and I just stuck to it, stayed focused, and I ain't let things outside mess me up mentally”

He went on in the clip below to state the U is his heart, and that he loves The U:

Having seen him speak how could you not love the kid? How could you not want him to succeed? Rob has been a quiet influence on the team, by that I mean he hasn’t been heard from much online or in the media, but his coaches and teammates know his heart and respect him for it. Hell, many of them love him for it. When asked about his thoughts on Knowles, Coach Manny Diaz was quick to praise him by saying:

“I think Rob Knowles has really been a success story... a guy who has had some ups and downs throughout his career, but here’s the rare thing, a guy that stayed... A guy that loves Miami. ...everyone in the outside world would say transfer, go somewhere else, do something else. He loves Miami. He hasn’t done that.”

That takes a tremendous commitment. It takes absolute resolve. It also takes a significant amount of love. Without those, I am certain he would have left the program, and the hate, in his rearview mirror. Instead, he says he focused himself for his Senior season. He dove into his playbook, studied his film, and actively asked coaches how to improve his game. This season is an indicator that all three of those things are true.

Rob got his first career turnover this season against Bethune-Cookman when he recovered a fumble. In this video clip he describes his feeling on getting the Turnover Chain:

Well said 20... well said.

As we prepare to honor all of our Seniors tomorrow, here are a few of Rob’s stats to know:

  • Played in 44 games as a Miami Hurricane (not including tomorrow).
  • Has 67 Total Tackles, 41 Solo and 26 Assists.
  • Has 3 Passes Defended
  • Has 1 Forced Fumble, and 1 Fumble Recovery

Here are some notable tweets from Rob’s time with Miami:

It’s been a hell of a ride... bittersweet indeed. Let’s go out a bring in a win in the final home game for our seniors this season.

THANK YOU 20! We are proud of the young man you have become. #Salute #MadeInDade #HomeTeam #GoCanes #SeniorDay

Let me know your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.