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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
2014 Blacknall favors OSU if Bucks offer

By Jared Shanker

Urban Meyer spent the last two days visiting high schools in New Jersey, but junior Saeed Blacknall didn’t know Meyer was coming to Manalapan (N.J.) High School. He heard Ohio State was coming, but he didn’t think Meyer would be the one to show up until he found the news out Monday.

The 2014 receiver caught a glimpse of the Buckeyes’ coach walking the halls Tuesday, though, and he was blown away.

“My coach told me Urban Meyer was coming in the next day, and I guess it’s the recruiting time for the head coaches to be on the road and to see players,” Blacknall said. “I was shocked. I was real happy to go and see him in person.

“I didn’t think the guy really knew my name, but [Blacknall’s coach] said ‘Urban Meyer knows who you are.’ ”

NCAA rules prohibit Meyer from speaking to Blacknall, so the 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver just gave a quick hello before leaving.

Meyer spent Monday visiting programs in North Jersey, seeing prospects such as elite junior Jabrill Peppers. Earlier Tuesday he was at Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic to check out 2014 lineman Quenton Nelson. Both have Buckeyes offers.

Blacknall believes the Buckeyes must be interested if Meyer stopped by his high school, as well.

“I didn’t have a chance to have a full conversation,” said Blacknall, referring to his high school coach, “but I’m thinking the obvious point is [Meyer] is interested in me or he wouldn’t come to my school.

“But him coming is enough.”

Boston College, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh and Rutgers have offered Blacknall already, and the Buckeyes are high on him. If Ohio State offers, Blacknall has no doubts who his leader would be.

“They would definitely be No. 1,” he said. “You can’t rule them out, because it’s Ohio State, the Big Ten. I’d still have so much respect for the other colleges and a lot of love, but you get a school like this coming that you see on ESPN all the time and you dream about, and it’s pretty unreal, that’d jump them to No. 1.”

Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina are also showing significant interest in Blacknall, and he plans to visit a few schools in the coming months.

“I’m planning to go to UNC, because I have family down there. I thought it’d be good to go visit them,” he said. “Then after today meeting Coach Urban Meyer, I definitely want to go down and see the Buckeyes and how they are.

“No question about that.”

Blacknall wrapped up his junior season Saturday as Manalapan lost in the state finals. Blacknall caught five passes for 86 yards in the loss and finished the season with 16 touchdowns and more than 600 receiving yards.

He just finished up his junior highlight tape, and Blacknall said what separates him as a receiver is his ability to produce yards after the catch and turn a short gain into a big play.

“I make something out of nothing. I can turn a five-yard hitch into a 20-yard gain or a touchdown,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been doing all year. I have a couple long plays, but usually it’d be a screen or bubble pass that I take to the house.”