Blacknall Catches Michigan's Eye

Wide receiver will be a position of emphasis in Michigan's 2014 class, and the Wolverines' are already tracking a number of talented options. One that they dropped in on recently in Englishtown (NJ) Manalapan pass-catcher, Saeed Blacknall. The 6-3, 190-pounder insists the interest is definitely mututal.

Sam Webb: First tell me how things went for you on the football field last year.

Saeed Blacknall: “Well, I started off with a lot of hype from the summer. I was supposed to break out this year, and as you know I did.  I had a really good year, personally. I had 40 catches for 700 and some change yards, a total of 16 touchdowns, after having a not too good of a sophomore year. I had two touchdowns and I was more of a sleeper so I just – this year was my outbreak year, and from there, after getting my Rutgers scholarship, my recruitment just blew up after that, and from there everything’s just been kicking off so far.”

Sam Webb: What are all the schools that have offered you so far?

Saeed Blacknall: “Rutgers, Boston College, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Maryland. (Editors note: Michigan extended an offer on signing day... After this interview took place)

Sam Webb: So tell me what all these coaches see when they watch Saeed Blacknall on the football field?

Saeed Blacknall: “At first you’ll see my speed, obviously… and how I have body control.  I’m able to set up DBs to where I want them to be.  I believe my route running is pretty good, but it can get better over time, so I would say I have sufficient route-running.  Then you can look at my hands are pretty good. I don’t drop many balls. Matter of fact, I don’t even think I’ve dropped one in a game, so I guess you could say that.  And I also play on the defensive side of the ball at safety, so you can see I know my defense.”

Sam Webb: What’s your height, your weight, and your 40 time?

Saeed Blacknall: “I’m 6’3”, 200-lbs, and I run a mid 4.4.”

Sam Webb: Obviously you have speed. Do you run track at all?

Saeed Blacknall: “Yes I do, indoor and outdoor.”

Sam Webb: Ok, so kind of give me – I assume you run the 100. What’s your fastest time in the 100-meter?

Saeed Blacknall: “My fastest time was 10.9, and my 200 meter time was a 22.7, and if you want to go indoor, I run the 55 meter dash, and I ran a 6.67 in that.”

Sam Webb: So lets talk about your Michigan recruitment.  When did the Wolverines kind of start getting on you?

Saeed Blacknall: “It really came out of nowhere, because I was always trying to get in touch with them. I would talk about them with my coach because I’ve always liked Michigan because of the Big House and everything.  Then out of nowhere my coach passed me in the hallway, and he said ‘yeah, the coach from Michigan is coming to the school today’. And I was like ‘oh really? I’ve been meaning to ask you about that.’ And when the coach (Curt Mallory) came to the school, he was all for it.  My coach said, ‘they are real interested in you, excited about you, and hope you’re the same about them.’  Of course I said yes because Michigan is an awesome school.”

Sam Webb: Have you had an opportunity to talk to them about maybe getting over to campus for a visit?

Saeed Blacknall: “No we haven’t had a chance to have a complete conversation. He gave me his number and everything, but he did mention, he said ‘yes, I want you to come to campus’, but as soon as I can talk to him, and as soon as Signing Day is over and all the 2013 class is over, then that’s when I can really get down to business with Michigan.”

Sam Webb: Do you think that you’re going to make it over for a visit?

Saeed Blacknall: “Yes, definitely. I want to expand all my opportunities.  I would go see every single school if I could, but Michigan definitely will be somebody I really want to see. I definitely want to just go just to see the campus and everything. I don’t know if I’m going to go to camps this summer. That’s a decision I’ll probably make closer to it, but I’m kind of leaning just toward seeing the facility and programs and everything, meeting coaches.”

Sam Webb: Looking ahead, when you get ready to commit to a school, what are going to be the big factors in that choice?

Saeed Blacknall: “First, family. I want my mom and everybody to be happy.  If I’m close, they’ll be happy. If I’m far, they’ll still be happy with the decision, but obviously they won’t like it too much.  But for me, I will definitely want to be comfortable with the area, the program, or state… wherever it’s at. I want to be comfortable with the coaches and have a really good relationship. I want to be comfortable with the offense, how I fit in with the program, and how I’ll contribute.  I’m a wide receiver, I definitely want to look into the quarterback and everything, and how everything would be, so I definitely want to be comfortable, that’s the most important thing for me.”

Sam Webb: You mentioned distance, and how your family might not like you to go far away. How far away would be too far for you?

Saeed Blacknall: “I think West Coast would be really far for them. I could go down south because I have a lot of family in various states down south, and that’s no problem with them.  Far would be like west coast, schools like that. That would probably get to my parents, but they wouldn’t care too much because they know it’s my future and what’s best for me.”

Sam Webb: What about style of offense? Are you a spread guy, are you a pro style guy? Does it matter?

Saeed Blacknall: “That’s funny, because a lot of people ask me that, and I always – I never really knew what offense I would love to be in, because I’ve never been in the spread before, because we do pro-style in high school, so I think from watching TV, football games, I would definitely want to be in the spread, because that’s a receiver’s dream right there, because all they do is throw the ball. But I’m definitely open to pro style because that’s all I grew up on. That’s no problem.”

Sam Webb: What about timeline?

Saeed Blacknall: “I would like to make a decision probably sometime in my senior season, because right now, like I told you before, everything’s just starting to kick off.  So like at the end of the day, I want to have all my options open. Right now, I don’t know.  I’m still getting interest from a lot of schools, so when I make the decision, I want to have as many opportunities and everything, and a lot of schools there.  Right now I have six (offers) so if I were to graduate tomorrow, I would have to choose out of those six, but if I wait it out, and I’m getting interest and offers and everything, I’ll have more schools to choose from.”

Sam Webb: Do you have a favorite right now?

Saeed Blacknall: “Not right now because I’ve only been to Rutgers junior day, and that’s the only campus I’ve seen so far. When I plan to make other trips and see other facilities and programs and everything, that’s when I’ll be able to tell everybody who’s my top, and who do I like the best, but right now.. I’m limited to picking a top right now. I just have to see everybody, but once I get out more, in the spring and summer and see all those colleges, I’m definitely going to tell you which schools I like, but right now, I don’t know.”

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