Darrell Blackman: Committed or Not?

Rumors are swirling that RB Darrell Blackman could be looking elsewhere... is that the case? <P> StateFans caught up with Darrell today at Hargrave's Media Day for an update on his recruitment and other issues.

Running Back Darrell Blackman's beginning to adjust to a different lifestyle and area at Hargrave. He's impressed by what he's seen so far.

"The coaching staff's a good coaching staff, and the guys we have here are good players," Darrell told StateFans. "I'm just using it as a stepping stone to gain some experience."

After failing to qualify for freshman eligibility at NC State, Darrell's options were limited, but did he consider prep school as a choice at first?

"Not really… I wasn't really thinking about it because I had my mind set on going to Raleigh and NC State. Then Coach Cignetti told me that there might have to be a little detour to Hargrave. When he first mentioned it I kind of backed away because it was a military school. But after [Hargrave] Coach Prunty called me and we talked I felt better about it. It's something I have to do if I want to get to N.C. State on time and I'm going to make the best of it."

Recently we had heard rumors that Blackman's recruitment could be opening back up after his decision to attend Hargrave. He quickly dismissed those rumors when mentioned to him.

"There's no doubt in my mind that I'm going to NC State. When I committed and signed to NC State that was final. Not that many teams have tried to contact me because I think they know I'm going to NC State. My mind's not changing so there's no point in coming in to change my mind."

Blackman committed to the Wolfpack in early December, and he knew that NC State was the place he wanted to be all along.

"I kind of knew before I made any of my visits…it was just something about NC State and the Wolfpack were always in my mind. When I would visit other schools it was NC State that I compared them against. When I went down there for the official visit it just made the decision even more final, and I knew it was where I wanted to be so I committed."

Darrell's high school teammate and best friend, Ray Brooks, committed to the Wolfpack on the same weekend. After enrolling in Raleigh this summer, Ray's left school to take some time and deal with personal issues, but Blackman feels he'll be back.

"I haven't talked to him much since I've been here because our schedule's so tough, but when I was at home we did talk a lot. He has some stuff going through his mind right now and he had to handle some things at home. I think that he's just taking a little break to re-focus and he should return back in January."

The Wolfpack coaching staff and players left a lasting impression on Darrell. He hopes to learn a lot from them and the star running back who already resides in Raleigh.

"I really like the NC State coaching staff, players, and TA's a great running back who I can learn a lot from. I'm just taking it as a learning experience so that when I get there I can watch the things that T.A. does well and listen to Coach Portee so I can become a better running back."

Blackman could see playing time early next season, with the Wolfpack losing Cotra Jackson to graduation and T.A. McLendon's proneness to injury. How does he feel about his chances of seeing the field a lot as a true freshman?

"I can't really predict that but I think I'll have a shot at coming in and playing. I'm going to go in and work... then when my number's called I'll be ready to get the job done."

Hargrave is one of the best prep schools in the country at preparing high school athletes for the rigors of college life and athletics. After staying for a year at the prep school, Blackman can matriculate to Raleigh, or will it be sooner?

"I'm concentrating on a half-year. If I can get my scores by October or November then I'll be out of here by December 19th and I can enroll in January. That's the plan right now but if I have to then I'll just wait and come to Raleigh in the spring."

As a NC State verbal, and with other committed players from schools like Maryland, North Carolina, and Miami, surely there's a lot of trash talk that goes down on the campus of Hargrave. After all, in a few months these same teammates become competitors.

"When we're in the training room we do talk a lot about State, Maryland, Miami and all them. Keon [Lattimore] is going to Maryland and we always argue about who's going to win this year. It's great talking about that stuff and knowing that these guys I'll get to play against next year."

Ironically, N.C. State fans will have a chance to see Blackman in action this fall as his Hargrave post-grad team travels to UNC-Chapel Hill on October 5th to play the UNC JV squad. Darrell has a message for those fans that come to see him play.

"I hope you like what you see and I can't wait to do the same things in the Red and White!"

Darrell Blackman

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