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 MyCentralJersey.com 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.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)