Blacknall Loving Committed Life

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Four-star Rutgers receiver commit Saeed Blacknall spoke in-depth with about his mindset after making a decision and the message he wants to send to uncommitted recruits.

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. – The interviews and attention that comes with a four-star tag were not always easy for Englishtown (N.J.) Manalapan receiver Saeed Blacknall. Trying to balance the attention with a major life decision became straining by the end of the summer but is now welcome after ending his recruitment with a Rutgers commitment.

Blacknall, the top rated receiver in New Jersey, committed to Rutgers during training camp and embraces the serenity that comes with an end to the process.

"It's just peace," Blacknall said in his locker room before the season opener. "No more phone calls, no more daily interviews and nobody is calling me to see what's up. I can just sit down and relax. Everybody knows that Rutgers is my home now and that's all there is to it."

Blacknall chose Rutgers over Ohio State, LSU and Alabam. The decision process was tough, but Blacknall feels confident with his choice to stay home.

"I've already made my decision and schools are respecting that," he said. "It's a big help to have it behind me. Now I can just focus on this, on my team. I'm not worried about setting visits or cutting my list."

Rutgers put up 51 points in a losing effort to Fresno State in the opener. Blacknall came away from the game impressed with quarterback Gary Nova and the direction of his future offense.

"I loved what they were doing with the ball," Blacknall said. "I was expecting something different, but you could see that [offensive coordinator Ron] Prince is really good. The offense looked really, really good."

The family feel for Blacknall was a major factor in his decision. When he joins the Scarlet Knights next summer, he will be reunited with two former Manalapan Braves – quarterback Mike Bimonte and player development staffer Cody High.

"I'm really excited to play with a former Manalapan guy like that," Blacknall said on Bimonte. "I didn't even think that would be possible, but it turned out that way. If you would have asked me freshman year if I'd end up at the same college as my quarterback, I would call you crazy. I'm just excited that it worked out that way because he's been a huge help to me. We work out all the time."

Blacknall aims to be a recruiting ambassador for the class of 2014 with many in-state targets still on the board. With options to play anywhere, Blacknall decided to stay in-state and wants other big names to do the same.

"If they're from Jersey, then Rutgers is home," Blacknall said. "No one should take you out of your home. You need to be a part of something like this because we're going to the top."

The state's top running back – Jonathan Hilliman of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep – joined the class a week after Blacknall and plays at Rutgers Friday night against Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy.

"I was really happy to see him pick Rutgers because I was always talking to him about it," Blacknall said. "He was high on Ohio State and I was like, ‘man you should stay looking at Rutgers and see what's up.'"

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