Trevor Knigh and the Aggies are 3-0 and in the top 20. Now comes the hard part, a brutal SEC schedule. How has Knight looked so far? Let's take a deeper look at his statistics through three games.
When we look at the five areas of quarterback production that indicate both efficiency and explosiveness. Those areas are completion percentage, yards per attempt, interception rate, sack rate, and yards per play. If you're an efficient quarterback you're going to complete passes at above 60%, (that number or mean keeps rising) your going to be able to have a high yardage to attempt average and yardage per play average. Those last two stats both go directly to how prolific a quarterback is in moving his team downfield, regardless of system. Lastly you won't do two things that kill drives and get you beat i.e. get sacked and throw picks. We got this idea from the guru of college football advanced stats, the venerable Bill Connelly of SB Nation, Football Study Hall, et al. Read him.
We're visual learners so we like to reduce those numbers to radar or area graph and to do so we take all passers with 14 or more attempts per game and then assign a percentile ranking to each in each of the five previously discussed categories. The higher percentile, the more effect the quarterback. As for the area graph we're looking for a wider area across all categories, a large blanket if you will.
Here's Patrick Mahomes' graph, yes he's elite at almost every category and probably one of the most if not the most well rounded signal callers in the game today.
Trevor Knight is no Patrick Mahomes and I doubt anyone expected him to be, but for comparison sake, here's what Mahomes has done through three games.
Trevor Knight has never been that efficient of a passer, but he's been better in the past. His area graph is indicative of a true dual threat quarterback, but we've never thought of him as such. He's more Tim Tebow than Patrick Mahomes. Well, Tim Tebow with the titles.
Back to Knight...some things that jump off the page:
- Oh that completion percentage. Knight's completion numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction. He's well below where accurate an efficient quarterback fall. Last season, and we hate bringing these names up, Kyle Allen completed 56% of his passes and Kyler Murray hit 59%.
- Last week against a conference opponent Knight was 20-40 dead solid at 50%. For the first half, he was 14-24 in the first half and had a pretty good rhythm going, but as Auburn took away his initial read, he struggled going 6-16 the rest of the way. That's more of a scheme issue in what is a one read offense, but Knight is pretty good in the pocket at extending plays, he needs to be more accurate after that initial read fails.
- We can overlook the completion percentage, well really we can't, but it is mitigated as Knight has been a better than average runner. Knight ranks 15th among quarterbacks in rushing yards and 18th in yards per rush. He's not Lamar Jackson, but he's a plus runner with way better speed than we anticipated. That helps his yards per snap percentile rank.
- Knight does a great job at sack avoidance (90th percentile) which given the inexperience of A&M offensive line is a bit of surprise.
- He's also much better at so far at not throwing to other team, a trait that's never been a particular strong suit.
Now the season really starts, Arkansas, at South Carolina, Tennessee, at Alabama before a brief interlude then Ole Miss and LSU. Knight's success for failure will be judged by in large by his performances in the next four games.