Athens Academy’s Kurt Knisely has found his new football home. Turns out, it wasn’t very far from his current one.
Knisely committed to join the University of Georgia as a preferred walk-on. He won’t be the first Knisely to join the Bulldogs as a walk on.
His father, Kurt Knisely Sr. walked on in the early 80s as well as both of his uncles, one of which played with current Bulldogs’ head coach Kirby Smart.
The legacy of the Knisely family walking on at UGA wasn’t the deciding factor for Knisely on his choice. Though he is following familiar, footsteps, it was family that ultimately made the decision for Knisely.
Knisely wanted the opportunity to play close to home and remain close to his family who reside in the area.
“It’s close to home and I wanted to be close to a place where my family could see me play and I could be around them and still be in their lives also,” Knisely said. “Academically, they have the majors I’m interested in. Getting a degree from the University of Georgia looks very good after college. All of those factors played into the decision.”
Knisely grew cheering for the Bulldogs. Athens has always been home. For the last few years Knisely has simply been searching for an opportunity.
“I’m very excited about it and I was very thankful for the opportunity they gave me,” Knisely said. “A lot of schools that I talked to didn’t give me my shot at an opportunity, so I was very grateful for the one that they (Bulldogs) gave me. I’m excited for the role I’m going to get to play. Just representing the Georgia football team is a great. It’s a great honor that I get to be a part of it.”
Despite being one of the key components of a team that has appeared in two Class A Private state championship games and won three straight Region 8A championships, Knisely’s college opportunities were relatively scarce.
Knisely, though frustrated at times, has always believed in his ability to play football. Now he has an opportunity, Knisely admits there is a lot he still wants to prove. Having been an observer of the Bulldogs for most of his life Knisely has seen players like Prince Avenue Christian School graduate Christian Payne, Aaron Davis and recently transferred Prather Hudson have impacts on the team despite not being highly recruited or offered scholarships prior to reaching campus.
Knisely hopes to be someone with a similar impact. Work ethic helped those players stand out enough to earn opportunities to play key roles for the Bulldogs. Knisely feels he has what it takes to do something similar.
“I think seeing all those guys come in there and bust it just proves the hard work can be done and there are plenty of opportunities to get on the field,” Knisely said. “I want to go prove myself and prove my worth. For myself, I know I’m a great player and I have to keep that mindset wherever I’m going. This happens to be the University of Georgia who is a powerhouse team. I think I have to keep my wits about me and stay true to who I am.”
Having played running back, full back, linebacker and safety for the Spartans the last four years Knisely has options to what he role could play for the Bulldogs.
Knisely expects to be a safety when he enrolls.