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OC, QB uncertainty helped flip four-star WR from Rutgers to Penn State

Saeed Blacknall

For the fifth time in as many seasons, Rutgers will have a different offensive coordinator than the year before.  The latest change came when Ron Prince ended his one-and-done Scarlet Knights tenure by leaving for the NFL.

At least in part, that move — and the continued uncertainty — cost Rutgers a significant piece to its 2014 recruiting class.

Saeed Blacknall, a four-star wide receiver from New Jersey, announced over the weekend via Twitter that he had decommitted from RU and verballed to Penn State.  The 6-3, 205-pound Blacknall had been a Scarlet Knight commitment since August of last year, eschewing offers from, among others, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State to stay in his home state.

Blacknall’s head coach at Manalapan High School, Ed Gurrieri, told that uncertainty on the offensive side of the ball played a role in the decision.

“They lost their offensive coordinator and they’re not sure who the QB is,” Gurrieri said. “In the end, he felt more comfortable with Penn State.”

Part of that comfortability involves James Franklin.  The new Nittany Lions head coach recruited Blacknall when he held the same job at Vanderbilt, with Franklin’s new coaching staff continuing that push at PSU.  Blacknall’s flip came two weeks after taking an unofficial visit to Happy Valley and a little less than two weeks before National Signing Day.

Gurrieri also cited the presence of Freshman All-American quarterback Christian Hackenberg as part of the reason for his former player’s change of heart.

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8 Responses to “OC, QB uncertainty helped flip four-star WR from Rutgers to Penn State”
  1. gripless says: Jan 27, 2014 11:30 AM


    Time to remove the penalties on the kids and coaches who did nothing and let them work the program back.

    Now enter the scum of the world like mauldog with the thumbs down.

    As aside note, what did the NCAA do with the 60M they extorted from Penn State. Did they spend one dollar on awareness to child abuse, offer a dollar to victims or just kick the money in the coffer for more mismanagement from the NCAA

    If the NCAA cared about this problem, the kids and cause don’t you think they should have pledged some, if not all of the PSU money, to awareness and educational time programs.

    To my knowledge they have done nothing.

  2. youcantmakemepickausername says: Jan 27, 2014 11:44 AM


    I believe that Penn State has paid $24m of the fine so far, as they’re paying it in five installments of $12m apiece and they’ve made two.

    And as a PSU fan, the last thing i wanna do is defend anything related to the NCAA or Emmert, but i believe there’s a pending lawsuit (not the Paterno family one, another one) involving whether all the fine money should be distrubuted to exclusively Pennsylvania child abuse charities or spread out nationally and that is the hold up.

  3. gripless says: Jan 27, 2014 12:38 PM



    I think you are correct on the impending lawsuit but that is driven by the state and school, I believe. As a matter of record, I don’t think the NCAA spent dollar one on anything directly related to this tragedy and disaster.

  4. kastout11 says: Jan 27, 2014 1:15 PM

    Certainly, there are no QB questions at PSU. Hackenberg, behind Braxton Miller, might be the best QB in the conference, and after next year when Miller turns pro, will be the best QB in the conference. Good decision by Blacknall. PSU needs all the quality recruits they can get, especially when OSU gets a bunch of 5 star recruits.

  5. stoicpaisano says: Jan 27, 2014 1:42 PM

    At some point they’re gonna need some linemen to protect Hack and O’Connor (and McSorley, is this guy destined for a position switch?).

    Wright seems like he may be able to step in as he has a year of post-grad but Sorrell/Brosnan need to EAT and Beh I believe will end up at DL.

    That said, great job by JF building the outsides of the offense, Godwin, Thompkins, Gesicki and Blacknall are as good of a skill position class you’ll find in the B1G outside of Columbus.

    Yes, I know it’s the B1G, but still.

  6. sdiegosteel says: Jan 27, 2014 2:26 PM

    You look at the eight commits post-O’Brien leaving and they come from New York, Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, California, New Jersey, and Kentucky. I’ve never seen that variety of recruits for Penn State. In fact, at the moment, the whole class has only three Pennsylvanians and goes beyond the aforementioned states to Mississippi, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware, and Massachusetts. This was a great job done both by the O’Brien and Franklin staffs and paints a bright future for Penn State’s national prominence.

  7. lbijake says: Jan 27, 2014 7:51 PM

    You are right, Franklin has shown he can recruit to Penn State and has not taken this year as a bye. At least half the battle is recruiting and the Big10 has been lagging in that department, except Meyer, for years. Hope Penn State can get a few years in before the rest of the league starts to catch up.

    The 60 million fine should definitely not be distributed by the NCAA. They will just us it a s a slush fund.

  8. onbucky96 says: Jan 28, 2014 4:54 AM

    Psst, Saeed, Gov.Christie would a word with you. Turning ya back on Jersey is like turning ya back on ya Family. And we got ways of dealing with clowns like you. We close your bridges. Seriously, why is Rutgers in the BigTen?

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