At lacrosse roads: Star signs with Ala. college

On the lacrosse field there are few people who can catch Josh Knight.

Unfortunately for the star athlete from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, a bug making its way around the school recently isn’t bound by a field measuring 110 yards by 60 yards.

In a phone interview as he recuperated at home before the Thanksgiving holiday, Knight talked about his accomplishments at Holy Trinity, his teammates, and his just-signed letter of intent to enroll and continue playing lacrosse at Birmingham Southern College in Alabama.

In a sense, Birmingham Southern won something of a lottery in signing Knight. He visited 17 colleges and/or universities in multiple states before settling on the Panthers. He also passed up his parents’ alma mater – Roanoke College in western Virginia.

Knight was looking at much more than the quality of the lacrosse program. Among the details that made Birmingham Southern the right fit was a student/instructor ratio of 13:1. That’s similar to the student/teacher ratio at Holy Trinity. The entire enrollment at BSC is about 1,300 students, in line with the average high school.

“I liked the whole set-up,” Knight said.

Mike Leary, the lacrosse coach at Holy Trinity, considers Knight a complete player.

“There isn’t a position on the field he can’t play. He’s the fastest player on the team, but he can also play goalie.”

Birmingham Southern’s athletic program competes in Division 3 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Collegiate athletic programs at that level face a distinct disadvantage when recruiting high school athletes because those schools are not allowed to offer athletic-based scholarships.

Birmingham Southern does, however, provide scholarships based on academics and need. Tuition alone is a little more than $16,000 a year. Figure in room, meals and fees, and the tally is just under $30,000. Additional costs, such as books and transportation, run the annual bill to about $34,000.

In terms of rankings versus its peers, Birmingham Southern is besting much larger and better known institutions within the state. In early November the website Wallet Hub ranked Birmingham Southern as Alabama’s best overall college. Some of the competition included the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Samford University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Knight has already decided on a major, which the average college student changes three times during his or her academic career. He’s aiming for a business degree.

“I’m a people person,” he explained. “I’m also looking forward to downtown Birmingham.”

As an athlete, Knight is well-rounded. In addition to lacrosse, he has run cross country, played tennis and soccer.

Leary calls Knight a dedicated athlete who contributes to the team not only as a player, but as a strong teammate.

“He bugged me for years to play LSM,” Leary recalled, citing the acronym for the most demanding position on the field – long stick middle. “Josh learned how to use that long stick, and he was terrific with it.”

Knight’s reputation for being mindful of his teammates as well as his opponents hasn’t go unnoticed.

“He shakes my hand after every game,” Leary noted. “He’s very respectful. He’ll help a teammate up, and he’ll help an opposing player up.”   

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