Los Angeles, CA– Cade Knighton is set to be one of the marquee players at Football Hotbed’s Portland All-American Regional. The quarterback has participated in Football Hotbed’s National Middle School QB Invitational Showcase in Miami in both years of the competition’s existence. Now, Knighton is excited to have the attention in his backyard.
“I’m stoked that it’s finally local,” he says of the program. “I don’t have to travel so far, kinda take it in, be cool, be relaxed, just do what I always do.”
Knighton finished 6th out of 17 and 7th out of 23 quarterbacks at each of his appearances in the Invitational, also known as Future 4. The teenager says that through the event, he learned the importance of accuracy and how to make himself stand out in a crowd.
“Every rep counts,” he says of what he found is the key to separating from the pack. “You have to, whether you’re up or you’re not up, you have to get a mental rep watching somebody, you have to make every single rep count.”
His mother, Frankie, travels with Knighton to each out-of-state event. She says that the national exposure is important for her son and she is happy to support his attendance to these competitions.
“It wasn’t hard for us to say yes,” she says of attending Future 4. “I think it really allowed him to measure himself with kids from other areas, but it also showed Cade that he can compete at that level. So it was good for us, it was a well-run program, that’s why we went back a second year.”
Knighton started playing football in 3rd grade and has never played any other position other than quarterback. His favorite memory of youth football was participating in FBU’s National Championship. Last year, Oregon made it to the quarterfinals in the tournament.
“It was great playing with a whole bunch of guys from your local area that you’ve competed against in the season,” Knighton says. “Being able to represent Oregon and travel to play teams nationally was just a blast. I enjoyed every second of it.”
The soon-to-be-freshman is now headed to Central Catholic High School, where he will compete to play on varsity. He says that he and his family chose this school because of its balance of academics and athletics. Besides admiring Andrew Luck for his football IQ, Knighton has three older siblings, a brother and two sisters, who he says taught him the importance of performing well in all aspects of school.
“They just told me to keep working hard, just compete your tail off every single day,” he says. “Academically, just take as many notes as you can and be a great classroom student. Always be up to date with your homework in order to be successful both on and off the field. I just take that into consideration. That’s how I go about my way.”
Now that he is establishing himself early as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, Knighton says he is looking forward to putting Oregon on the Hotbed map.
“I think Oregon is very underrated,” he says. “I think people misjudge the talent in Oregon. Oregon is kind of passed on when it comes to recruiting. I think, we’re as talented as any other state out there. It’s just a matter of time before someone takes the time to recruit and look at us.”
-Victoria Hernandez, a Football Hotbed contributor