Sophomore running back Marcus Knight celebrates with teammates after a touchdown. Knight scored three touchdowns during the homecoming game.

The Grizzlies are heading into the second half of the season with a 5-1 record. One player, new to the team this year, is helping the team elude defenders for three touchdowns in the Grizzlies’ most recent 59-20 homecoming win vs. Idaho State.

Marcus Knight is leading the Griz in rushing and was named the starter at tailback in his first season with the Grizzly football team. Despite being his first year at UM, Knight is a sophomore, not a freshman. He started his college football career at Citrus, a community college in California.

”I want to have fun, make my family proud and put on for Montana now,” Knight said.

In order to participate in spring drills and be eligible to play in the upcoming season in accordance with NCAA rules, Knight transferred from Citrus College to the University of Montana at the start of the spring semester last year. He had previously been playing at Citrus for one football season.

After playing for one season at Citrus, Knight received a first team all-state award from the California Community College Athletic Association. In 11 games, he ran just short of 1,000 yards. Despite his awards, Knight went to Citrus to develop his game with the intention of transferring to a bigger school, he said.

Knight said he made the decision to go to Citrus because even though he received awards throughout the three sports he played in high school, only a couple of Division II schools offered him a position in football. He also received offers for lacrosse and track, but Knight was only interested in playing college football.

Knight said not being part of a Division I program was one of the main drawbacks of playing for Citrus. However, playing for Citrus enabled him to receive offers from Division II programs and interest from Mountain West and Pac-12 conference teams. The University of Montana was his first official Division I offer.

“For this being my first offer it’s pretty big-time football. It’s what I always wanted to play,” Knight said.

Moving from California to Montana was rough, according to Knight. He said it was difficult getting accustomed to the small population, the weather, and the team.

Knight didn’t just want to play for UM because it’s a Division I school though, he said. He liked the Grizzly’s rushing game on offense, and he liked the atmosphere at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Knight said the community really rallies around the team. The fan support is “top notch” even compared to Pac-12 schools. According to him, this makes playing for the Griz a lot more fun.

His first season has been pretty good, Knight said. But he expected to be able to put up yards for the team, so his strong start hasn’t been surprising to him. Knight said his goals for the team include winning the rest of its games in order to win the Big Sky for an automatic bid into the FCS playoffs.

Knight’s personal goals are much simpler. “Just keep getting yards for us, that is pretty much my goal,” he said.