Ohio State's scholarship offer to 4-Star wide receiver Saeed Blacknall on February 13th was one he was certainly waiting for, as Saeed told me on February 2nd, "I can't wait 'til that offer, that's going to be big!!" The New Jersey native certainly blew up since the Buckeyes gave him the big news, as he has been offered by Florida State, Wisconsin, and Syracuse in the past two weeks.
Saeed grades out as a 94 overall, is ranked the 160th best overall player in the nation, the 19th best wide receiver in the nation, and the 4th best player in New Jersey, according to 247Sports' Composite Rankings. I had the chance to catch up with the stud wide receiver, check out what he had to say about his latest high school season, Ohio State, the recruiting process, and other general topics:
How'd your junior season at Manalapan go?
It went really well. As far as statistics go, I had 40 catches, 742 yards, and 16 total touchdowns. So from that standpoint, it was a great year. I felt like I was on top of my game, and now I'm focused on getting better.
What's your favorite part about playing Wide Receiver?
I like how "clutch" the position is. As a wide receiver, I feel like I need to make a big play. My favorite part is how the game is often in my hands.
What is your biggest strength?
I'd say my biggest strength is the fact that I also play on the other side of the ball at safety. This allows me to read the defense and adjust my routes based on how the defense is positioned. Having the knowledge and the ability to alter my routes is definitely my biggest strength.
What part of your game do you need to work on the most?
My routes. I believe it's the most important part of the wide receiver position, especially at the next level. At the next level, the defense will be just as fast or if not faster than me, and routes are essential. I also want to work on my "hands." I think that's the next most important aspect of the wide receiver position.
Let's get into your recruitment now. What are the main schools recruiting you currently?
Well, I'd consider all the schools who have offered me and continue to recruit me as the main schools.
If you had to name five or six of those schools, which would you name as the "main" schools of that group?
Ohio State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and Florida State.
I know you have great relationships with all of those schools, but if you had to name one or two of those coaching staffs, who do you have the best relationships with?
Ohio State and Michigan.
What do you like about Ohio State?
I love coach Urban Meyer and what he is doing there. The opportunities at Ohio State are endless. They stick out a lot because they just had a phenomenal season. They really stood out last year. I'm not sure if their bowl ban has ended yet, but this year will be great to watch. They should have been in the national championship last year.
Who is the main coach from Ohio State recruiting you? How often do you speak, and who else do you speak with from Ohio State?
Coach [Ed] Warinner is the main coach recruiting me. I call him every other week. I also talk to Coach [Mark] Pantoni every other day. With Coach Warinner, we talk about first and foremost getting me down there for a visit. We make plans about my visit and what dates fit best. He wants me to see everything, all the opportunities Ohio State has to offer, and what they bring to the table. We talk about how I'd fit in there, learning more about the university, and he gives me the inside information on everything. I'd probably say I'm closest with Coach Pantoni, though. He tells me he can't wait to get me down there for a visit. We joke around a lot.
What have been your best college visits so far?
I've only been on two, Rutgers and Pittsburgh.
I know it's early, but do you have any idea of when you want to announce your decision?
I'd like to announce sometime mid-year during my senior season or at one of the all-star games. It's really hard to tell you what schools I "like" right now because I haven't been to many. I want to get a closer view at everything before I can really be honest about what schools I "like."
How do you deal with the pressure of the recruiting process and being such a highly touted recruit?
I take things in very slow. I don't let myself get a big head, and I'm always working. I talk with my wide receiver coach who played at Nevada and my main coach who also played at the college level. They tell me, "you're not invincible." They tell me to take things slow and enjoy the process.
Do you speak with any other top recruits in the 2014 class? Do you try to recruit anyone to go play with you in college?
I catch up with guys like Adonis Jennings from Timber Creek, Kiy Hester from St. Joe's, Ray Lawry from Kingsway, and Jonathan Hillman from St. Peters. We talk about the recruiting process, what schools we're talking to, and things like that.
Did you get a chance to watch the Buckeyes this past season? Which players did you like watching the best?
Yep. I really like Braxton Miller. I like the way he takes over games. He's the boss when it comes down to it.
Do you plan on attending Ohio State this spring?
Yes, I definitely do. I'm not sure what exact date yet, though.
Do you plan on attending any Ohio State camps this summer?
I'm not sure. I want to take the summer time to see a lot of the schools that are recruiting me.
Do you plan on attending Ohio State for an official visit next fall?
They are definitely up there for consideration for an official visit. I think the school that's farthest away that's recruiting me is in California, so it'd be cool to go out there. It's not too often somebody from New Jersey gets out to California. I have to be conscious about my parents' money as well.
Role Models: One of my coaches from my high school. He's a very hard worker and played football in college. Also, my wide receiver coach. He's also a teacher and advises me on a lot.
Best Subject in School: Lab Environmental.
Hobbies: Working out, no matter what it is.
Movies: I thought about saying Friday Night Lights, but I'll go with Any Given Sunday.
TV Shows: The NFL Network.
Favorite Sports Teams: Philadelphia Eagles. Also, I like Calvin Johnson. I don't really like the Lions, but I'm more of a player-fan for Calvin.
Watch what Saeed would bring to the Buckeyes below:
Thanks again to Saeed for a great interview and taking the time to give Buckeye Nation a chance to get to know you. Good luck in the recruiting process and your senior season.