UCLA football defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight declares himself for NFL draft, out for Holiday Bowl due to COVID-19

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A second Bruin chose to go pro.

UCLA football defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight has declared himself for the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday night, he announced via Twitter. Knight no longer had any college eligibility to return next season, but he also announced that he also won’t be playing in the Holiday Bowl against NC State on Tuesday.

Knight’s decision to forgo the bowl game, however, was due to COVID-19 protocols, which is why he was not in training for the Bruins on Wednesday or Thursday.

Defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia became the team’s first player to enter the draft on December 13. With the Bruins down by two defensive starters, defensive lineman Jay Toia and forward Martell Irby will step up and get their first career starts against the Wolfpack.

Knight transferred to UCLA from Kent State before the 2020 season, and he joined Kent State in 2019 after three seasons in Maryland. Prior to arriving at Westwood, Knight made 115 tackles in four seasons with the Terrapins and Golden Flashes.

In his two seasons with the Bruins, Knight missed a game and racked up 104 tackles, 13.0 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, five defensive passes and a fumble recovered for a touchdown.

Knight was one of the team’s most vocal leaders and was also one of the few players who had ever played a bowls game thanks to his experiences elsewhere.

UCLA has had one defensive player selected in each of the last two draft drafts, with cornerback Darnay Holmes going to the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft and defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa going to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2020 NFL Draft. third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Knight was a member of the All-Pac-12 second team in 2021, leading the Bruins in tackles and tackles for a loss. Knight also won the Jerry Long “Heart” award at the team’s banquet in November, and he accepted an invitation to the Collegiate Bowl on January 29.

In September, All Bruins spoke to Zack Patraw, president of Sports Illustrated and FanNation’s The NFL Draft Bible, about players who could make it to the April draft. Knight played nickel at UCLA, and Patraw has said he needs to impress this fall in order to prove to NFL teams he can play there to the next level.

“Knight is one of those guys that I really want to see him have a good year this year because I think there is potential there,” Patraw said. “He’s had a great 2020, I want to see him put on weight a bit, I think he’s a guy later on, but I think he’s spotable.”

As one of the best defensive backs in the conference this fall, Knight may have done enough to earn a franchise signing in the next offseason.

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