Crystal Lake Central graduate Romeo McKnight is headed to UNC-Charlotte for his final season of college football, then hopes to enter April's NFL draft.
Crystal Lake Central graduate Romeo McKnight is headed to UNC-Charlotte for his final season of college football, then hopes to enter April's NFL draft. — Photo from Illinois State University athletics

Crystal Lake Central graduate Romeo McKnight will finish his college football career in Charlotte, North Carolina.

McKnight, who played two seasons with FCS Illinois State, announced on Twitter Saturday that he will play this season with UNC-Charlotte of Conference USA.

“Beyond thankful to everyone that made my time at ISU so special. I will finish my college career at the University of North Carolina Charlotte! Proverbs 3:5-6," McKnight wrote on Twitter.

Michele McKnight, Romeo’s mother, said he will be playing on scholarship and needs one class this semester to finish his degree.

Romeo McKnight (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) had two productive seasons at defensive end with the Redbirds in Normal. Last season, he had 12 1/2 sacks, 16 1/2 tackles for losses and 64 tackles. ISU lost to eventual FCS champion North Dakota State, 9-3, in the playoff quarterfinals.

When the Missouri Valley Conference moved football to the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKnight, an NFL prospect, decided to transfer so he could play this fall.

By playing in the fall, McKnight will then be able to concentrate in the winter and spring on workouts before April’s NFL draft.

McKnight was unable to be reached for comment.

In high school, McKnight was poised for a big senior year at Central in which the Tigers planned to use him at running back, but he suffered a torn ACL in the preseason scrimmage and missed that year. He played two seasons at Iowa, but battled injuries there and did not see any game action.

At Illinois State, McKnight got healthy and showed why he was so coveted coming out of high school.

C-USA is one of six NCAA Division I conferences that will play football this fall. The rest have moved their seasons to the late winter and spring.