The ramp up to the 2020 North Dakota State football season begins with a look at the top players the Bison will face this year.

2019 was the season Romeo McKnight had been waiting for. The Illinois State defensive end was healthy and showed his promise by disrupting offenses on a weekly basis. McKnight started all 15 games for the Redbirds, finishing fourth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 12 sacks and had 16.5 tackles for loss.

The 6-5, 260 pound defensive end took his game to the next level in the playoffs for Illinois State. McKnight had three tackles in the Redbirds opening round win against SEMO, then was a force in the second round against Central Arkansas. McKnight finished with seven tackles and three sacks as ISU advanced to the quarterfinals in Fargo. He finished with four tackles in a defensive battle with the Bison.

McKnight's college career began at the University of Iowa. He redshirted in 2016, then missed the entire 2017 with an ACL injury. In May of 2018 he decided to return home and head to Illinois State.

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He returns this season off a first team all-league selection to a defense that should again be very good. ISU has an interesting schedule, including a season opener against Illinois out of the Big Ten. The Redbirds have road games in Fargo and Cedar Falls this season and McKnight will not be sneaking up on any offensive coordinators in 2020.

McKnight is the last of the top opponent series for 2020. You can find the other stories on the Bison Media Zone.