Coach this is the first time you have gotten the chance to talk about Willy Korn publicly. What are some of your early impressions of him as a quarterback based on what you saw while he played at Byrnes High School?
Blackwell: The first thing is ... he is an outstanding person. He's a great student. Having recruited Willy myself the last few years he is a great person that is extremely competitive and a team guy. The players on his team really rallied around him at Byrnes. He's enrolled and obviously will be able to compete for the job but the expectations placed on him by the fans and the media are so high. We just want him to get in, get comfortable and compete. It's going to be a great competition. We've got three other guys that are outstanding players also. It's going to make all four of them better.
How much does it help not only Willy Korn, but the other four guys that enrolled early- Dye, Linthicum, Walker and McDaniel to go through spring practice? Is that much of advantage in terms of avoiding a redshirt season as a true freshman?
Blackwell: It does. Honestly, there are certain positions it helps more than others. Safety for example- with DeAndre. There are so many adjustments and calls that our safeties have to do in this defense that having him for spring practice is huge- just as it is for Willy. There are certain positions that are extremely challenging from a mental standpoint. Plus it allows them all to get comfortable. But as you said before, the spotlight is going to be on Willy but the other four guys are outstanding football players. You look at Landon Walker, we felt like he was the top offensive lineman in North Carolina. He really did well at the Shrine Bowl. Brian Linthicum an outstanding tight end from the state of Virginia that was heavily recruited and very athletic. DeAndre McDaniel, who was one of the top two or three players in the state of Florida last year. Those guys almost become an afterthought. And then Xavier Dye is a guy we thought was probably the most underrated players in South Carolina. And you get to signing day and you are five players short because they are already enrolled in school and there is a tendency to forget about them. Last year everybody was excited about C.J. Spiller but we were also excited about Jamie Cumbie, our first commitment. Ricky Sapp- guys that jumped in the boat early and held onto the rope.
Coach Bowden said yesterday that he expected several assistants probably wouldn't be back next season and there are reports out there that you may be looking at other job possibilities. What are your comments on that?
Blackwell: It's that time of year. Whenever it's that time of year and things are going really well with us for recruiting. I've said several times that I'm thrilled to be at Clemson. I love it here. It's a wonderful place to be. We've got a great coach. Great athletic director, and a great president and the program is headed in the right direction. It would have to be a job that really furthered my career to look. You would never back yourself into a corner because you always have aspirations to be a head coach and to move up in this business but I have one of the best jobs in the country.
Have any schools contacted you about moving into one of those kinds of positions?
Blackwell: They have, but the jobs so far, the feelers that have been put out there, and the job offers that have come in already, are the ones that I would not consider advancement enough to leave.
A very big weekend coming up in terms of recruiting. What are some of the goals for this staff going into this weekend?
Blackwell: Well, we are of the mindset right now that we have so many early commitments that we aren't looking for nine or 10 more guys. We can top this thing out with four or five more, maybe six at the most. We are going to be very selective down the stretch. There are a few positions we'd like to hit hard and get a few more and then we can be really really selective. We are not in a mode where we are ready to shutdown recruiting and be done for the year, but we are close to that. We had a big recruiting meeting yesterday; we'll have another one today and one of the big focuses yesterday with that was juniors and looking ahead. Obviously we still have recruit the guys that are committed hard. But we are in a unique situation with the number of commitments we have hard. We are going to be able to get out there and recruit hard the next couple of weeks and then start focusing on next year's class. This class should give us a great start into next year.
How is Anthony Waters doing and what does his draft status look like based on what you are hearing?
Blackwell: Anthony is in Arizona right now training. Actually his roommate is Sidney Rice I believe. He's training out there, but Dr. Bowman, our team surgeon, and his last check up, the nine-week check up he was three weeks ahead of schedule. The reports I'm getting in Arizona are that there is nobody out there that works as hard as he does, which is no surprise to us. From the NFL scouts, it's always going to be mixed. I've heard guys say he could be a third round pick, even with the injury because of his size and athleticism and leadership skills. And then you hear guys say he could slip into the second day, fourth or fifth round because of the injury. But the biggest thing for Anthony is for him to get healthy first and get himself into camp. A lot of times in the NFL now a days, if you aren't a first round draft pick you are playing for that next contract anyways. He's got a lot to prove obviously, but we are all pulling for him here.
Q&A with David Blackwell
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