UPDATE: The story has since been confirmed by a release on the South Florida's official school web site.
Blackwell just completed his sixth season coaching linebackers at Clemson.
He was a part of the Tigers' defensive resurgence in recent years. Clemson was bowl eligible in all six of Blackwell's seasons on staff and most recently, he helped lead the Tigers to the Gator Bowl. Clemson finished in the top 25 of both polls in three of those seasons.
During that time, the program has earned 10 wins over top-25 teams, and the Clemson defense has had a lot to do with that success.
The play of his linebackers had a lot to do with Clemson's strong finish in 2005. Clemson was in the top 25 in seven categories, including scoring defense (#11), tackles for loss (#13), turnover margin (#16), pass efficiency defense (#18), total defense (#20), rushing defense (#25) and sacks (#25).
Leroy Hill's development under Blackwell was consistent over his last two years (2003,04), leading to his selection in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Seahawks. Hill started in the Super Bowl for Seattle as a rookie when he had 7.5 sacks, third-most in franchise history for a rookie and third among NFL rookies in 2005. Hill was named ACC Defensive Player-of-the-Year, AP Third-Team All-American and was a two-time First-Team All-ACC selection under Blackwell's tutelage in 2004.
Blackwell's group was a big reason Clemson finished with a top-25 final ranking and nine wins in 2003. The defense allowed No. 3 Florida State and No. 6 Tennessee just 49 combined rushing yards in Tiger victories at the end of the season and held both teams to 14 points or less.
Blackwell directed Clemson's recruiting efforts during his first three years. Both his 2005 and 2006 recruiting classes were ranked in the top 20 by nearly every service. The 2006 recruiting class had the most Parade and USA Today All-Americans for the Tiger program in 16 years.
The native of Greenville, S.C., has significant experience at the Division I level as both a defensive coach and recruiter. He was the linebackers coach at Pittsburgh from 2000-02. He was a big reason the Panthers went to three straight bowl games during that period. Combined with his career at Clemson, he has been with a bowl-eligible program for each of the last eight years.
Blackwell to South Florida
CUTigers.com Top Stories
ACC Media DayCUTigers was on hand in Charlotte for ACC Media Day on Wednesday. Watch Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell, All-ACC First-Teamer Jaron Blossomgame and point guard Avry Holmes discuss…
Inside the Matchup: Clemson vs Florida StateThe Tigers and Seminoles face off with CFP implications on the line
Scout CFBYesterday at 11:11 AM
TUESDAY DABO PC AND INTERVIEWSCUTigers was at the Clemson West Zone on Tuesday for Dabo Swinney's weekly press conference and interviews with Brent Venables, Christian Wilkins, Jadar Johnson and Kendall Joesph.
CUTigers.comTuesday at 12:00 PM
Updated Scout 300 Trend Meter For 2017The updated Scout 300 Trend Meter for the 2017 class takes a look at which schools are trending for each uncommitted member in the Scout 300.
Scout FootballTuesday at 5:40 AM
RECRUITING RADARIn our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!
CUTigers.comMonday at 3:20 PM