"My decision all came down to one thing--Auburn is just a great school," Angelo Blackson tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "The people I?met there were just great. Everybody I met was happy to meet me. The coaches there were thrilled to me and I like them a lot."
At 6-5, 294 pounds with excellent quickness and a reputation for being mean and physical on a football field, football was just a part of Blackson's decision to chose Auburn.
"School and grades are the first step, the main thing for me," he says. "When I was younger in public schools I struggled some with my grades, but I have buckled down and gotten very serious about school. Without the grades, there is nothing else--no football, no anything."
Blackson says he is doing really well with his grades at Red Lion Christian Academy and is confident enough about his academics that he wants to tackle a challenging major at Auburn. "I am interested in studying building science," he says. "I got a chance to meet people in the program at Auburn and I really like what they have to offer."
With his basketball season finished, a sport in which he is also a college prospect, Blackson is wrapping up his junior year in high school. "For my senior year, I am just want to get better at everything," he says. "My grades are good, but I want to make them better. On the football field I want to get stronger and faster."
He notes that he talked to his recruiting coach at Auburn, Tommy Thigpen, to let him know that he is Auburn bound. "He was really happy about the commitment," Blackson says. "Coach Thig came up to see me play in a seven-on-seven camp."
Dwayne Thomas, associate head football coach at Red Lion Christian Academy, says the Tigers are getting a prospect who has "strong Christian values" and a huge amount of potential to improve even though he is already a star player in high school.
"Colleges from around the country have been finding out about Angelo and are really interested," he says. "He is a guy who is unusual because he runs so well for being such a big guy. He is up to 294 pounds now and doesn't look like he is heavy at all.
"Last year we played against a lot of Wing-T offenses and we used him mostly outside at end because of that and he did a great job for us," Thomas says. "This year we will probably play him inside more (at tackle), but will use him at end, too. He will probably play at about 305 as a senior."
Thomas notes that he has coached in the collegiate ranks for nearly two decades. Commenting on Blackson, he says, "He is the kind of guys college coaches are looking for to play on the defensive line."
Blackson is the first defensive line commitment for the 2011 Auburn signee class. Defensive linemen are priority recruits for Chizik and his staff.