Despite having offers on the table from three solid football programs, you won't find CB Derek Blacknall from Dudley High School in Greensboro, NC listed as one of the state's top 50 prospects released by Scout.com last week. That underscores just how deep the North Carolina crop is for the class of 2007.
At 5-11, 165 pounds, Blacknall put up impressive numbers at the Shrine Bowl combine held at AC Reynolds High School earlier this year. He ripped off a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, 4.47-second 20-yard shuttle and 30" vertical jump. That has helped him to earn early scholarship offers from Marshall, East Carolina and Ohio University.
Alternating between cornerback and safety in high school, Blacknall projects as a CB in college. Last year he was a major player for Dudley as he finished off the year with 65 tackles, three interceptions and two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
With his senior season underway, Pack Pride caught up with Blacknall for the latest on his recruiting.
"I've still got the same three offers," he said. "But right now, NC State and Maryland are my two favorites."
Blacknall broke down each of his top schools.
"With Maryland, I went up there for a visit over the summer and I really liked the fact that they were close-knit. Everything was close together, the stadium is on campus so you don't have to walk far to get to anything. I really loved the coaches up there, too."
"At NC State, I like that it's real close to home so if something happened where I needed to get back, I wouldn't have far to travel. I haven't talked to all of the coaches yet but I've talked to some of them. I've mostly talked with coach Cignetti and they seem real interested. He's a really cool coach. On top of that, red is my favorite color.
"They haven't really talked to me about an offer yet but I think they want to see how my senior year goes."
Blacknall attended State's contest with Southern Miss last year and he plans to make it back to Carter-Finley for a game in 2006.
The senior CB said that he doesn't plan to make a commitment anytime soon. Instead, he will take his official visits and wait to see what other offers come his way before deciding on a future college. Blacknall added that the school that gives him that ‘home away from home' feel is likely the school he'll end up choosing.