Notre Dame, Ind (UHND.com) — It’s long been speculated that Rhema McKnight would miss the rest of the 2005 season after the nasty knee injury he suffered in the 2nd quarter of the Michigan game. Today that speculation became reality when Charlie Weis announced Rhema would miss the rest of the 2005 season and apply for a medical redshirt.
McKnight’s knee twisted in ways a human knee is not meant to twist against Michigan on an apparent catch over the middle. Rhema’s knee twisted and they ruled the pass incomplete but the effects of the play were far worse than an incomplete pass.
There had been hope that McKnight would make it back for this season, but noticeable limb hinted that the injury would be season ending. The silver lining with this injury is that Rhema is eligible to to apply for a medical hardship year of eligibility since the injury occurred early in the season.
The brunt of the blow from the loss of McKnight was lessened early in the season by the play of Jeff Samardjiza who is on pace to break the single season touchdown record for Notre Dame with 9 in 6 games, but it can be argued that with McKnight in the lineup the Irish may have had a little extra offensive punch against Michigan State and USC.
Now that it is official we can speculate on the effect Rhema’s return next year would have on the team should the NCAA grant his eligibility request. Notre Dame was going to be short on experience at wide receiver in 2006 with Maurice Stovall, Matt Shelton, and McKnight set to use their eligibility up this year.
With McKnight back in 2006, Notre Dame would line up Jeff Samardjiza along with McKnight as the starting wide receivers with the young receivers on the team vying for the 3rd and 4th wide receiver spots.
Being granted a 5th year of eligibility would greatly benefit Rhema at this point since his NFL future right now would be based strictly on potential. Another year under Weis would vastly improve McKnight’s draft prospects whereas he would be looking at a undrafted free agent deal should his request be declined.
A 5th year of eligibility is not a given for McKnight however with the NCAA beings a little more strict these days with medical hardship redshirts. The NCAA is trying to eliminate players from milking lesser injuries just for an additional year of eligibility as some have done in the past. Since the extent of McKnight’s injury has never fully been disclosed, it’s hard to tell what his chances are at being granted the extra year.
In his career, McKnight has 103 receptions for 1,370 yards and 7 touchdowns. Prior to the season he was expected to have a breakout year and flourish in the new system as Brady Quinn’s #1 target.
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