Brantford’s David Knevel is ready for whatever awaits him in Lincoln, Nebraska as he begins college this week.
Knevel spent his final night in Brantford with friends and family at the civic centre watching the Brantford Blast play the Welland Whalers in Allan Cup Hockey league action.
Knevel was given a jersey featuring his No. 72 and made an honourary member of the 100th Allan Cup-winning Brantford Blast team.
Blast owner Peter Ham asked Knevel to make the ceremonial puck drop before the game so he could get a proper send-off from the community.
Knevel left Friday night after the game to travel to the University of Nebraska, where he will begin classes on Monday.
Knevel will be working out and following a training regiment with the Cornhuskers team looking to make the starting offensive line in the fall, but he doesn’t have any expectations.
“I will just come in there and develop as much as I can,” Knevel said. “I could get playing time early, but if I redshirt, I wouldn’t be blindsided. I’d be happy with that and embrace it and just get better every day.”
Making a player a redshirt for a full season can extend their eligibility to play college athletics for an additional season while they practice with the team. But they can be called in off the sidelines at any time.
Knevel is not guaranteed to step on the field in his freshman year because the Cornhuskers boast three offensive linemen in their senior year.
But Knevel likes the idea of having those mentors available.
“Every place has older guys to learn from, but to have three senior linemen will be very good,” he said. “They can put me under their wing.”
The 6’8″ lineman received 12 full-scholarship offers from Division I NCAA schools in the U.S., which is unprecedented for a Canadian.
Knevel made his decision to attend the University of Nebraska public – to much fanfare – on Dec. 18.
He is attending the winter and spring semester in order to get a head start on both his academics and sports.
“It will help me adapt,” Knevel said. “It’s easier to get used to everything if I come in early. It’s just a bonus for me.”
He will study history in the classroom.
When he arrives, Knevel plans to just soak up as much as he can.
“I will work on anything I can work on,” he said. “The playbook, getting stronger, everything.”