Thursday, April 4, 2013
N.J. WR Blacknall has speed SEC covets
By Jared Shanker
When recruiting a skill player from outside the Southeast, SEC coaches are going to want to know one thing: “Does he have SEC speed?”
Manalapan (N.J.) High School receiver Saeed Blacknall has it.
Before his sophomore season, the Rutgers coaches timed him at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash. And as a sophomore running the 100-meter dash, Blacknall qualified for the state finals and only two other sophomores throughout the state ran faster.
So last week, Blacknall spent his spring break visiting schools in the SEC and down South. His trip to LSU made a major impact on the 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver.
“The campus, the town, you can tell it was a young, live town, people smiling, a nice day, almost like a movie scene,” Blacknall said. “It was just nice. Everything was beautiful. The facilities are somewhat brand new. Everything was top notch.”
The Tigers jumped to the top of Blacknall’s list following the visit, but he has since backed off the statement. He was a little caught up in the visit while in Baton Rouge.
“I said that when I was down there but, I’m still open right now, waiting to see more schools before I put out a real top five,” Blacknall said. “I have a couple visits coming up, schools I want to see soon. I want to take it slow.”
By taking it slow, Blacknall hopes an offer from Georgia comes. It was a program he went out of his way to visit last week just to let the staff know he is serious about his interest in the Bulldogs.
He talked with the coaches on the visit about the program and how the staff runs practices in Athens, but not much was discussed regarding an offer.
Clemson, which has offered, hosted Blacknall last on his swing through the Southeast.
“I took a tour and met with some of the coaches that I haven’t spoken to and got to meet the receivers coach,” Blacknall said. “He showed me film cut-ups and talked about everything as far as how many receivers he’s taking.”
Blacknall knows he wants to make more visits, but track season is ongoing and he admits his family is tired from the week-long trip last week. The two schools he knows he will visit as soon as possible are Michigan and Ohio State.
With the two programs being bitter rivals on the field and in recruiting, Blacknall was careful with his words when talking about both schools.
“I have a good relationship with [Michigan] and same with Ohio State,” Blacknall said. “They [Michigan] seem to be really good about taking a player and making them reach their peak. They produce players. Same as Ohio State.
“They’re big rivals. I don’t like to favor one. We got to see. I don’t have that much to say because I haven’t seen them in person. I want to see which I like better and I’m waiting to see that.”