AA

Athens Academy senior Kurt Knisely sits next to his father and mother as he signs with the University of Georgia as a preferred walk on to play football.

Athens Academy senior Kurt Knisely ended up where he was supposed to at the end of National Signing Day.

Many wondered why the Spartans’ leading rusher and defensive star hadn’t received the recruiting attention leading up to his senior season and shortly after it.

“I don’t understand it at times,” Athens Academy head coach Josh Alexander said. “He’s landed in the best place you can land as a football player.”

Wednesday afternoon erased the negative emotions or feelings toward the journey.

Knisely signed with the University of Georgia as a preferred walk on, accomplishing a dream that he’s had from the start.

“I really appreciate all the support I’ve been given and it’s a real stress reliever finally getting this done,” Knisely said. “I’m just very excited to be a part of the University of Georgia football program. I’ve had this in the back of my mind that I always wanted to be a Dog. This day is just an amazing feeling to be a part of this program and officially become a Georgia Bulldog.”

Knisely’s father and two of his uncles played at UGA as walk-ons. Being from the area and having a family tie in with the program made the choice simple for Knisely once he was approached with the preferred walk-on offer.

The Bulldogs were one of the first teams to give Knisely an opportunity. Knisely also values the responsibility he now holds as a local student athlete playing at his hometown university.

“It means you’re a part of something bigger than yourself,” Knisely said of representing UGA. “You’re a part of a bigger community than you could have ever thought. The amount of people that you get to be around and the amount of people that are looking up to you just because you’re a part of this program means a lot. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it means a lot to be a part of it.”

Knisely isn’t one to rest on just being a part of something. Being a preferred walk on offers the opportunity to take part in summer workouts and practice with the team in camp.

For Knisely, that’s opportunity to compete. Knisely hasn’t missed a football game in his entire life and he doesn’t want not be on the field as much as he can be over the next four years in Athens.

Two of Knisely’s former teammates Frank Sinkwich IV and Ed Ferguson have both spent time with the Bulldogs as walk-ons. Knisely has already spent time talking to both about what to expect.

Knisely also plans on reaching out to Prince Avenue Christian School alum, former UGA walk-on turned starter Christian Payne at some point as well.

“A part of my mentality and the mentality of the family that helped raise me has made me competitive,” Knisely said. “I’ve never missed a football game in my life. I don’t really want to start that now no matter where I’m going. I’m just going to keep working hard and if I have to wait my time then I’ll wait my time. I’m going into a program that’s amazing and that’s a lot bigger than yourself and everyone around it. I think that with the success that people have had before me just shows that it can be done. That’s just more motivation for me going into it.”

Knisely is considering a career in education or criminal justice. Knisely hopes to have a future in coaching after college.

“I want to be around the game of football as long as I can,” Knisely said.

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