Like most coaches, G.A. Mangus of Delaware Valley College tries to keep a certain distance between himself and his players. “If you get too close to a kid,” he said, “it can interfere with your judgment.” But every so often, there is a player who makes a coach bend that rule.
Adam Knoblauch was that player for Mangus.
“Adam is a special kid,” Mangus said. “Put the football part aside and look at the person that he is. You can’t help but get close to a kid like that. It was my good fortune to have him the last four years. Coaching Adam was a joy.”
Knoblauch, who finished his college career as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NCAA Division III history, is the Maxwell Club’s Tri-State Player of the Year for 2005. He also was named Top Local Amateur Athlete by the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association.
Knoblauch ranks second all-time with 12,833 yards in total offense and fifth in passing yardage (11,284). His 101 touchdown passes put him 10th on the Division III list. He is just the sixth quarterback in college football history (all divisions) to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 (1,549) in a career.
Along with Mangus, Knoblauch helped turn around the football program at Delaware Valley, which did not field a winning team for almost two decades. When Mangus, a Georgia native who played quarterback for Steve Spurrier at Florida, took over the Aggies in 2002, one of the first things he did was recruit Knoblauch, who starred at Tamaqua High School and spent a year working in a hardware store, uncertain about whether he actually wanted to attend college.
When Knoblauch decided to enroll at Delaware Valley to pursue a degree in criminal justice, Mangus had the quarterback and leader he needed to put the team back on its feet. Over his final three seasons, Knoblauch led the Aggies to 33 wins in 37 games, two Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championships, an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) southeast title and a quarterfinal appearances in the 2004 and 2005 NCAA playoffs.
Knoblauch set virtually every school passing record and he is ranked either first or second in MAC history in those categories as well. He also rushed for 29 touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass. He was named the 2005 MAC Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference quarterback for the second year in a row.
A Dean’s List student, Knoblauch was a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, which goes to the Division III Player of the Year and recognizes both academic and athletic excellence. He is on the college’s student-athlete advisory committee and he has worked with several youth football leagues in the area.
“When we got to Delaware Valley, we had a locker room full of knuckleheads, kids who didn’t know the first thing about winning,” Mangus said. “Within two years, we had turned that all around and Adam was a big part of that. He set a standard, on the field and off, that made everyone better.”