Bishop Noll’s Gavin Knight is ‘the life of the team.’ Which one? It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t slow down.

Bishop Noll junior Gavin Knight knows one speed.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s playing football, basketball or baseball.

“I talk to the football coach (Tyler Milby) a lot, and Gavin’s like, ‘See the ball, go hit it,’” Bishop Noll baseball coach Eloy Melero said. “I’m over here like, ‘Gavin, this is baseball. You have to think a little bit about what we do with the baseball before we actually do it.’

“We try to contain him. But you can’t contain that type of kid. You just have to let him go.”

About the only thing that has slowed Knight, who comes across as thoughtful off the field, is an injury. A safety and slot receiver in football, Knight suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the second game last season after he racked up three interceptions and seven tackles in the opener. His ongoing recovery has limited him to playing first base and pitching. He’s typically an outfielder. Knight expects to get full medical clearance, including for contact in football, at the end of May.

“That was the roughest season just because I couldn’t physically do anything on the field to help my team,” he said. “That feeling just sits with you, and you can’t forget it. It’s just emptiness.”

Knight, who played junior varsity basketball for two years before missing this past season, has been filling that void in baseball as the Warriors (7-6, 4-1) try to contend with two-time defending Class 2A state champion Illiana Christian in the Greater South Shore Conference. Knight’s upbeat attitude does not go unnoticed.

“Gavin is a very energetic role model,” Bishop Noll senior Eric Boone said. “If we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing, he’s making sure we’re on top of it. He’s the spark of the team. He’s the life of the team. Without him, our energy wouldn’t be as high as it is. Without Gavin, it would be a downfall because he’s the life of the team.”

Boone also described Knight as “the life” of Bishop Noll football. Knight, who has been a starter for the football team since the third game of his freshman season, considers that his primary sport.

“I loved football coming in very much,” he said. “Football has always been something in my life that’s been my main love, my first love.”

But baseball isn’t far behind, and it’s a sport in which Knight also flourishes.

Michael Gard / Post-Tribune

Bishop Noll’s Gavin Knight, left, tries to bring down Boone Grove’s Cole Keyser during a game in the first round of a Class 2A sectional in Valparaiso on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Michael Gard / Post-Tribune)

Melero, a 2014 Bishop Noll graduate in his second season leading the program after four years as the pitching coach, is happy to have Knight available at all.

“I thought he was going to be out for the season,” Melero said. “He came back and said, ‘Yo, I’m ready to go.’ And I was like, ‘All right, cool, if you say so.’”

Last season was Knight’s first full one on the varsity team after he played a few games at that level as a freshman. He hit .397 with 22 stolen bases.

“He’s a great kid, in the classroom, outside the classroom,” Melero said. “He’s our vocal leader. He’s always the guy who gets the guys up and going. He leads by example, leads with his play, leads with his voice. It’s rare to have that. Normally in the past, my top guys are not as vocal. So it’s weird seeing him be one of the top guys on the field and also be really vocal.

“But he understands the game well. He just has a feel for it. He’s really raw, just goes off instinct. I asked him about college, and he said, ‘I’m a football player.’ But he’s one of the best kids I have on the team as well.”

Indeed, if Knight had to choose, he would lean toward playing football in college. But he’d like to play both, if possible.

“I’m still considering baseball very highly,” he said. “It’s whatever’s the best fit, where I feel the most comfortable and where I’m wanted the most.

“I just like to lead by example and work hard in everything and be the best I can be in whatever it is. I always instill that confidence that you can do whatever you put your mind to as long as you work hard.”

Knight has taken a lot of cues from his brothers, Zach and Elijah, who were standout football players and wrestlers. Both are Morton graduates. Zach graduated in 2007, and Elijah graduated in 2014.

“I get that pressure from them. They’ve always been ‘football this, football that,’” Gavin Knight said with a laugh. “It’s always been a big football thing in our family.”

Knight has been enjoying the experience with his Bishop Noll family this season.

“I like our passion,” he said. “We can get really loud in the dugout, and we’re all a brotherhood. We’re always there for each other. We can talk to each other about whatever. It’s really nice to have that connection with people you spend a lot of time with and we also play the beautiful game of baseball with. Everyone loves baseball.”

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