With nearly 30 Lincoln High School football players huddled around him, Lamar McKnight began by asking a two-pronged question. The first portion of the former star quarterback’s query was simple enough: “How many of you want to play college football?” he asked.
The team provided a silent, unanimous answer, raising their hands to the ceiling of the school’s weight room. Then came the back end of McKnight’s question.“What’s your GPA?” he asked, singling out a handful of players, one at a time. The responses were mixed. Two-point-zero answered one. One-point-eight, said another.
“I forgot to keep what was important, important,” he said. “Trust me, them grades are what’s most important.”
And so began an informal, yet impassioned talk that spanned well over an hour in the bowels of the Jersey City public school last Tuesday. McKnight, 21, who recounted his winding journey from Lincoln High School to signing a football scholarship at Tennessee State University in March, hopes his words will echo in the minds of those current players for years to come.