Pack Pride contacted Hargrave head coach Robert Prunty recently to get the latest on a couple of Wolfpack commitments that will be enrolling in his program later next month. While discussing some of his future players, Coach Prunty couldn't help but turn the conversation to one of his stars from last year and a player that could light up the Wolfpack crowd in 2004.
Although somewhat reserved in his comments during the season, Prunty was quite candid in discussing Darrell Blackman now that the speedy 6-1, 195 pound running back has departed for Raleigh and a spot in the Wolfpack backfield. He said that the Wolfpack nation could be in for quite a treat when the season kicks off in September.
"I'll tell you right now, you can tell State fans to get ready for Darrell Blackman because he's going to be something," said Prunty. "I know you've got TA McLendon down there but if Darrell continues to work hard, he'll be able to help out when TA needs a break. But I think Darrell will be an impact player this year. I can tell you that if Darrell ever gets in there it's going to be hard to get him out. That kid is special."
Originally from Williamsport, Pa, Blackman finished his high school career as one of the top RB's in the nation and quickly made his mark at Hargrave, despite sharing the rushing load with two other backs last season. He had perhaps his best performance of the year against a UNC-JV team that fielded close to a dozen varsity players. Blackman finished up the game with close to 160 yards rushing and two amazing, breakaway runs that gave just a hint of what the future could hold for Blackman and his arrival at NC State.
Prunty made it clear that somewhere along the way while coaching Blackman, he became a fan as well and can't wait to see his former star back hit the field in 2004.
"I'm really excited to see Darrell play this year," he said. "You guys are just gonna really love him. You know, if you look at him he looks like Tony Dorsett. He's got that smile. And the thing is, when he gets the ball- oh boy. I mean, I'm not saying it just to be saying it but he is just really special.
"I'm telling you, it wouldn't surprise me if he won the Heisman before he leaves there. Blackman is the best RB I've ever seen."
Hargrave Military Academy has become a favorite stopping off point for NC State football commitments who need to work on their test scores before entering college. Coach Prunty does a masterful job of not only honing a player's physical abilities but improving their academic standing as well as developing maturity and responsibility. Prunty said he looks forward to his continued association with the Wolfpack football program.
"I've got a great relationship with NC State," he said. "I like what Chuck Amato is doing down there. We look forward to continuing our relationship."