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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Summary: Romeo McKnight, DE, Illinois State

Romeo McKnight
Romeo McKnight the former D1 transfer pass rusher from Illinois State is a beast for the Redbirds. He is a top pass rusher in the FCS.

By Craig Forrestal

Romeo McKnight

  • School: Illinois State
  • Position: DE
  • HT: 6ft5
  • WT: 260
  • Hometown: Crystal Lake, IL
  • High School: Crystal Lake (IL) Central
  • Recruit Ranking
    • Rivals: 3 Star class of 2016
    • 247: 3 Star/ 38 overall Weakside DE in class of 2016
    • ESPN: 3 Star/ 103 overall DE in class of 2016
  • 3x High School All-American Wrestler
  • Illinois Class 2A State Champion Wrestler 220 pound division

2016 Season (Iowa)

  • Redshirt season

2017 Season (Iowa)

  • Did not see game action due to injury

2018 Season (Illinois State)

  • Earned HERO Sports FCS Sophomore All-America First-Team selection
  • Recognized as Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team 
  • Tallied 47 tackles, including 24 solo stops
  • Tied for the team lead with 9.0 tackles for loss
  • Led the team with 3 sacks
  • Credited with a team-high 11 quarterback hurries

2019 Season (Illinois State)

  • Selected All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection at defensive end started all 15 games for the Redbirds
  • McKnight finished fourth in the MVFC in sacks (12.0) and TFLs (16.5)
  • Added 64 tackles, including 36 solo stops
  • Once again, led Redbirds with 10 quarterback hurries


McKnight was part of an Iowa recruiting class that included Nate Stanley, Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson in 2016. When McKnight arrived in Iowa City a veteran DL was in place and then in 2017 Iowa welcomed AJ Epenesa to the DL room. After the missing, the 2017 season due to injury McKnight transferred to Illinois State. Since McKnight has arrived at Illinois State he has shown to be a quick and versatile pass-rusher with pretty good hands which can be attributed to his wrestling days. McKnight shows the potential to further grow as an athlete as he is still learning life as a pass-rusher; played RB and LB in high school. McKnight plays with excellent effort and some might label him a ‘high-motor guy’.

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