Area signal callers have a place to get a leg up on the competition

Craven Knotts Jr. has created a quarterback academy to teach young players the nuances of the game to make them better on the field.

Area signal callers have a place to get a leg  up on the competition
August 04
10:45 2022

It is said that quarterback is the toughest position to play in sports. As a former star quarterback for Reynolds High School and former wide receivers’ coach, Craven Knotts Jr. noticed the need for some advanced training at the quarterback position, so he decided to put his skills to use and do it himself by starting C93 Quarterback Academy.

“It’s been on my mind for the past three years and something finally told me to just go ahead and just do it right away,” Knotts said about starting his QB academy. “I just saw the quarterback play around this area and there are not a lot of QBs from this area or from the state of North Carolina that are tearing it up at the next level.

“You’ve got Sam Howell, you still got some kids at Coastal Carolina, but not a lot of kids are tearing it up in the Triad.”

Knotts started his academy with just one kid named Ahmad Francis less than two months ago. Since then, business has continued to grow steadily.  He says another reason for him starting the business is because there is a change in training quarterbacks from being linear to being rotational.  

Knotts has spoken with several Division I offensive coordinators who have all stated they don’t want quarterbacks that aren’t mechanically sound, because they don’t have the time to fix it on that level. Craven not only honed his skills on the football field, but being a standout baseball player also helped as well.

“What made it easier for me was playing baseball since I was four years old, so when I first started seeing the rotational teaching, I really studied guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes,” he said. “Baseball made it an easier transition because I was already a rotational player to begin with.”

For Knotts, he uses several key elements to help ensure the success of the kids in his academy. One of the major components of his training starts with his athletes using “ground force” to get more force on their throws.

“I am teaching them a better way to actually throw the ball, use ground force, be rotational and have a quick release, all at the same time,” he said about his training.

Not coaching was a difficult decision for Knotts; however, he felt it was time to make that jump. What really swayed him into making his decision was seeing some of the quarterback play at an all-star game he was coaching in.

Although he has only been training his kids for a few weeks, Knotts can already see the improvement in several of his clients. As a trainer and coach, that is exactly what he is looking for. He says he knows they will not grasp all of the concepts immediately; he is just hoping for continued improvement after every session.

“It actually puts a smile on my face because anytime you are coaching or you’re teaching and you can see it happen, you are kind of like proud of yourself a little bit,” Knotts said. “The thing about my academy, what a lot of people don’t know, is I have four phases to my academy.

“Phase one is just learning the technique of it and really trying to understand what I am asking for. The reason why I have four different phases is because phase one is just teaching you the basic fundamentals. At the end of that phase, you take a test and you have to be 70% or higher and the reason why I made it 70% or higher is because my completion percentage when I was at Reynolds when I was a senior was 69% or something like that, so I made it 70.”

Knotts says he does not like to brag but he is more than qualified to train quarterbacks to prepare them for the next level because of his experience on the field and the way he has studied the position. He fondly remembers a game against Davie County where he completed 10 of 13 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns in just the first half of the game. He also threw 29 touchdowns and ran for five more as a senior and those marks have not been touched since he graduated.

“I may be short in stature, but I was coached well from the time I was 12 up until my senior year in high school and plus I was a student of the game,” he continued. “It’s a lot of NFL coaches out there that have probably never picked up a football a day in their life and they are NFL coaches.

“Regardless of how they got on, they’ve never played a down of football, but they are out here coaching the best football players. I just think if you have a passion for it and it’s in you to coach and actually give back and you’ve also done good things on the field regardless if you played in college, high school or professionally, I just think it’s how you carry yourself at the end of the day and also what you’ve done on the field. I just want to show people I do know what I am talking about. I played the position, did pretty well at the position, and I am teaching this new style of quarterback techniques that college coaches are looking for.”

C93 is a unique name that Knotts came up with for his academy. He has an interesting story as to how the name came about.

“Ninety-three to me is a mindset. When you go to the pump, outside of diesel gas, the numbers you see are 87, 89 and 93 and 93 is the best gas you can obviously put in your car, so I just feel like to me when my kids step on the field, you know who they are,” he said. “Just like how I felt my senior year, there’s a newspaper article from The Chronicle and it had Jeremy Peterson on the front of it and it said ‘Will Craven Knotts fill Jeremy Peterson’s shoes’… so from that day the next person after me is going to have to fill my shoes.  

“I am trying to give my guys the same mindset. You may not be the biggest, you may not be the tallest, you may not be the fastest, you may not be the strongest, but I am teaching them to be the best quarterback they can be and to be themselves.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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