'Good Vibes': Seattle Seahawks LB Tyrice Knight Thrilled to Play For Mike Macdonald

Making the most of his one-day trip to the Pacific Northwest, Tyrice Knight and Mike Macdonald hit it off talking ball, and now he will get to learn from the linebacker guru with the Seahawks.
Jan 31, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; American linebacker Tyrice Knight of UTEP (40) works in a defensive
Jan 31, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; American linebacker Tyrice Knight of UTEP (40) works in a defensive / Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
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RENTON, Wash. - Growing up in Lakeland, Florida before playing college ball at Independence Community College in Kansas and UTEP in Texas, NFL hopeful Tyrice Knight had never been to the Pacific Northwest prior to taking a trip to visit the Seattle Seahawks this spring.

Aside from playing at Boise State during his junior season in 2021, Knight had never played anywhere close to the Emerald City, with the majority of the Miners games played in the south or Great Plains region. Not knowing much at all about the city or what to expect upon arrival, after being introduced to coach Mike Macdonald and his coaching staff and checking out team facilities at the VMAC, the playmaking linebacker left quite impressed, wishing the visit wasn't just a one-day pit stop.

“It was good vibes there from top to bottom," Knight said of the top-30 visit on Saturday. "I have nothing bad to say about it. I wished I would have stayed longer than that one day.”

Fortunately for the well-traveled Knight, next time he comes to Seattle in the near future, he won't have to leave and Macdonald and company hope he plans to stay a while.

Always around the football, Knight ranked among the best linebackers in the nation in solo tackles in 2023, earning a Senior Bowl invite in the process.
Always around the football, Knight ranked among the best linebackers in the nation in solo tackles in 2023, earning a Senior Bowl invite in the process. /

Following a highly-productive college career that culminated with a Senior Bowl and NFL combine invite, the Seahawks invested the first of two fourth-round picks on Knight, nabbing him the First-Team All-Conference USA honoree with the 118th overall selection. Once a lightly recruited prospect with few offers out of Lake Gibson High School, he will now have a chance to learn from veterans Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson with hopes of developing into a future starter.

When asked about his trip to Seattle, Knight raved about everything from the weight room to gourmet food served in the cafeteria, drawing a few laughs from reporters and team personnel. But while he was blown away by the facilities and enjoyed every aspect of the day, his interactions with Macdonald - formerly a linebacker coach for the Ravens - made the visit stand out from the rest, as he felt an immediate rapport with the first-time head coach when the two started diving into film to evaluating his strengths and weaknesses.

“He was a straightforward man, he didn’t sugar coat none," Knight remarked. "He showed me the things where he felt like I was good, and he showed me the things I need to work on. I really respect that. Some coaches, they only show you the bad things, so with him doing all that, he made me feel like he really respected me."

Projected by most draft outlets as a late day three pick, Macdonald clearly loved what he heard from Knight as well, as the Seahawks bypassed several bigger names from Power 5 schools remaining on the board when they opted to select him. Looking at his numbers, though he's still learning the position, it's not difficult to see why the coaching staff is enamored by his talent and upside.

After taking the unconventional junior college route, Knight committed to UTEP and jumped right into the lineup during a COVID-shortened 2020 season, seeing action as an off-ball linebacker and edge rusher while tallying 54 tackles. He broke out in his second season with the Miners, eclipsing 100 tackles and stuffing the stat sheet with two sacks, an interception, and four pass breakups.

Continuing to grow into one of the nation's most productive defenders, Knight earned Second-Team All-CUSA honors in 2022 with 95 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. Putting himself squarely on the map for NFL evaluators, in his first season fully immersed into an off-ball role, he racked up 140 tackles, including a whopping 84 solo stops, to go with 4.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, four batted passes, and two pass breakups.

Developing a penchant for disruption, Knight finished his college career with 32 tackles for loss. While additional opportunities were created by sending him via the blitz at a high frequency, he credits his football savvy for allowing him to capitalize on those chances and regularly sniff out ball carriers in the backfield, a trait Macdonald covets from his linebackers.

“That was all me. We blitzed a lot, so that is really mostly my instincts, having a nose for the ball and just trusting what I see," Knight said.

Per Pro Football Focus, Knight ranked fourth among qualified linebackers with a 26.2 pass rush productivity rating, generating 14 pressures and 4.5 sacks on only 40 pass rushing snaps. He also tied for first among linebackers with four pass deflections as a rusher, proving himself to be quite adept at getting his paws up into throwing lanes when he didn't get home to the quarterback.

Landing on Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy's radar late in the 2023 season, Knight's performance ultimately led to an invitation to the all-star showcase in Mobile. Proving he belonged as the only non-Power 5 linebacker on the roster, a strong week further improved his standing on Seattle's big board, setting the stage for his top-30 visit and eventual selection by the organization.

"It was a blessing for me to go there and showcase my ability," Knight commented. "I felt like I deserved to be there. I was blessed to be there, and I feel like I took full advantage of it.”

Looking back on his final collegiate season and where it has led him, Knight felt the shift to off-ball linebacker gave him the best chance to fully show off his entire skill set. Based on comments from Macdonald after day three of the draft wrapped up, the Seahawks intend to use him in a similar fashion starting at the weakside spot and potentially sliding to MIKE down the road, as the coach believes he has the skills and football IQ to handle either position.

In addition, Knight should see plenty of action on special teams, where his athleticism in pursuit, physicality, and love for the game will make him an excellent candidate to help replace departed veteran Nick Bellore on kick and punt coverage teams.

Regardless of where Seattle ends up deploying him from, starting with next week's rookie minicamp, Knight plans to reward Macdonald and the rest of the coaching staff for their faith in his ability illustrated by taking a chance on him in the fourth round. Thanks to his versatility, aggressive playing style, and nose for the football, just as his memorable visit suggested, he couldn't think of a better landing spot to reach his full potential.

And, of course, Knight couldn't be happier about the destination he will now call home.

"I feel like I can play good in the run game, good in the pass game, I’m all around from sideline to sideline. I think I can do anything the coaches ask me to do, without any hesitation. I feel like I’m the perfect linebacker for the Seahawks. I’m glad they made this decision.”

Corbin K. Smith


Graduating from Manchester College in 2012, Smith began his professional career as a high school Economics teacher in Indianapolis and launched his own NFL website covering the Seahawks as a hobby. After teaching and coaching high school football for five years, he transitioned to a full-time sports reporter in 2017, writing for USA Today's Seahawks Wire while continuing to produce the Legion of 12 podcast. He joined the Arena Group in August 2018 and also currently hosts the daily Locked On Seahawks podcast with Rob Rang and Nick Lee. Away from his coverage of the Seahawks and the NFL, Smith dabbles in standup comedy, is a heavy metal enthusiast and previously performed as lead vocalist for a metal band, and enjoys distance running and weight lifting. A habitual commuter, he resides with his wife Natalia in Colorado and spends extensive time reporting from his second residence in the Pacific Northwest.