Knotts photo 1

Monroe receiver Shaleak Knotts has earned a reputation for making acrobatic catches. Knotts, a rising junior, already has full scholarship offers from 23 colleges across 12 states.

Monroe High wide receiver Shaleak Knotts still has two years of high school football left, and he’s already reported 23 full scholarship offers from Division 1 colleges.

Knotts is rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, which ranks him as N.C.’s second-best high school football prospect in the Class of 2022. The website also ranks the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Knotts as the eighth-best receiver in the nation among his class.

Knotts’ first scholarship offer came from East Carolina University, and he reported it through his Twitter account on Oct. 1, 2018 — when he was still a high school freshman. Knotts finished with 51 receptions for 757 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman. He was voted The Enquirer-Journal’s County freshman of the year.

He followed it up with a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2019, catching 59 passes for 1,006 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Monroe coach Johnny Sowell told The Enquirer-Journal earlier this year he expects sophomore Khamoni Robinson to replace the graduated Matthew Bennett as the starting quarterback.

In addition to having an elite receiver, Robinson will enjoy a big offensive line in front of him: senior Omarion Huntley was listed at 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds last season, Je’marion Rushing was 6-3, 287 pounds and his twin brother, Omarion Rushing, was listed at 6-4 and 275.

Also expected to return is running backs Elijah Funderburke and Jack Crump and receiver Jordan Black.

Defensively, Knotts had a team-high eight takeaways (6 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries) as a defensive back last season. The Redhawks’ secondary will have to replace the Streater brothers, who combined for nine interceptions last year, including seven by Salen and two by Shemar.

The Redhawks also lost their leading tackler in Damian Sanchez, a linebacker who finished with 94 tackles. Crump, who also plays linebacker, is Monroe’s top returning tackler after being in on 66 stops last year. Also expected to return is senior end Mike Little, who led the Redhawks in sacks with five in 2019.

The Redhawks, who had a 6-6 record in 2019, are scheduled to begin the 2020 season on Aug. 21 with a road game against Anson County.

Knotts’ scholarship offers

Monroe High rising junior receiver Shaleak Knotts has reported 23 Division 1 scholarship offers on his Twitter account (@shaleak3), including: Georgia, Texas, Ga. Tech, West Virginia, Michigan State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Louisville, Tennessee, UNCC, Virginia,, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, South Carolina, Duke, Vanderbilt, Coastal Carolina, Akron, East Carolina