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Undrafted Rookie RB Zonovan Knight Earns Spot on Jets' 53-Man Roster

NC State Product Displayed Rushing and Return Prowess in Camp


Waiting has become a habit for Jets rookie running back Zonovan 'Bam' Knight over the last four months.

In April, Knight, who expected to be selected in the fifth or sixth rounds of the NFL Draft, didn't hear his name called amongst the 262 picks before signing with the Jets as an undrafted free agent.

Heading into Tuesday's NFL roster cut-down, Knight had to wait again. But this time, he was picked for a spot on the Jets' 53-player roster.

"I didn't really know for sure until this morning," Knight saidfollowing Tuesday's practice. "Everybody just kind of saying congratulations to everybody that came. I thought they still had until 4:00 to finalize everything, so I was still kind of on the edge while waiting."

The North Carolina State product got a chance to celebrate Tuesday after final cuts. And naturally, the first person he told was his mom.

"I texted my mom," Knight said. "She said congrats and said it was all God. It was bigger than that."

See the 53-man roster in photos leading up to the 2022 season.

Knight knew he had his work cut out for him when he arrived at One Jets Drive this summer. The Jets running back room featured veterans Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, Tevin Coleman La'Mical Perine and 2022 second-round pick Breece Hall.

"I knew it was kind of an old running back room," Knight said. "So, I knew I had to make an impact not only in that room but on special teams and try to find a way to be impactful."

He made a mark on the coaches with position flexibility,impressing both as a running back and kick returner. 

On what he thought made the difference in making the initial roster, Knight said: "I think it was kick return. I think that was probably the difference if I had to guess."

Knight led all NCAA returners with a 34.4-yard average on 16 attempts in 2021, totaling two kickoff return touchdowns last season and three scores in 2020-21.

In the Green & White's three preseason games, Knight led the team with 141 kick return yards on five attempts. He averaged 28.2 yards, second most in the NFL, and posted a 52-yard return against Philadelphia. He also rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries in summer action (3.5 yds/att) and wouldn't be denied on a 2-yard scoring run against the Eagles.

"It means a lot," Knight said. "I knew coming in that it was going to be a lot of work, especially going in with LP [La'Mical Perine] and Teco [Tevin Coleman]. I knew it was going to be a battle from the jump."

Knight and S Tony Adams were the Jets' only undrafted free agent signings to make the roster.

"It is hard to make it as an undrafted free agent," head coach Robert Saleh said. "It was really cool to see TA and [Knight] seize their opportunity and make the most of it. Bam is another young man that we think matches our running style."

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