It seems as if the Michigan Wolverines may be making some progress on the recruiting trail with 4-star wide receiver Saeed Blacknall, but their bitter rival Ohio State may have the upper-hand when all is said and done.
Blacknall is a talented wideout recruit from Englishtown, New Jersey. He's 6'2'', 190 pounds and he runs a 4.50 40 according to 247Sports. He's also ranked as the No. 19 receiver in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Without a doubt, Blacknall will represent a big recruiting pickup for some school.
That's good for the Wolverines, because according to a report via Tim Sullivan of TheWolverine.com, Blacknall is excited about Michigan:
One of those recent offers came from Michigan. The Wolverines pulled the trigger in mid-February, and they definitely have Blacknall's interest.
"My coach initially had told me that they were going to offer me," Blacknall said. "You kind of suspected it, but you didn't think he was going to come that soon, because I just had met Coach Mallory. When he offered me, I was just really excited and happy about it. I was just ready to get this thing rolling and it's already building a relationship with the coaches starting to get started up and keep going and everything. I was happy.
Sullivan also reports that Blacknall is planning on eventually visiting Michigan wants to learn more about the school:
"As far as like academics and the school history, I really don't know it too much about it," he said. "Obviously the stage doesn't get much bigger than Michigan, though. It's at the Big House, the fanbase is crazy: they always are like excited. I know it's a really good throwing school they throw to the receivers and they will get you to the top of your game just like any other school. Right now I'm just trying to learn more about it. I have good relationships with the coaches: Coach Mallory and Coach Hecklinski, I have good relationships with them already and everything so it's going well."
This is all good news for Michigan fans, because a receiver like Blacknall would be a great addition to Brady Hoke's new pro-style offense. There is one catch for the Maze and Blue, though.
Here's what Blacknall had to say about Michigan's rival, the Buckeyes, back in 2012 before OSU offered him, via Jared Shanker of ESPN.com:
Boston College, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh and Rutgers have offered Blacknall already, and the Buckeyes are high on him. If Ohio State offers, Blacknall has no doubts who his leader would be.
“They would definitely be No. 1,” he said. “You can’t rule them out, because it’s Ohio State, the Big Ten. I’d still have so much respect for the other colleges and a lot of love, but you get a school like this coming that you see on ESPN all the time and you dream about, and it’s pretty unreal, that’d jump them to No. 1.”
Ohio State offered Blacknall on February 13th of 2013.
Michigan may be getting some attention from Blacknall, but it seems as if the draw of Ohio State could be too much for the 4-star wideout to pass up on.
Those are some strong words from Blacknall in regards to Ohio State, and it's worth noting that about three months after those comments, Ohio State is in the top three of his 247Sports interest list, along with LSU and Florida State.
Michigan could make somewhat of a run considering the Wolverines offered him in early February, he wants to visit, and his statements make it seem like he's interested in the Wolverines. That said, if it were to come down between the two Big Ten powers, I wouldn't hesitate to give Ohio State the edge.
Even as a football program, Ohio State is already a few years ahead of the Wolverines. Head coach Urban Meyer has his program set to compete for national championships this year. Hoke and Michigan still need to fully transition to the pro-style offense, then they can worry about competing with Ohio State in the Big Ten.
Realistic national championship aspirations are still a couple years away for the Wolverines. I'd say 2015 is a good goal. As of this upcoming season, I don't see Michigan being better than Ohio State in the Big Ten, let alone nationally.
Once the offensive transition is complete, it should take a year or so for everything to gel enough to play at the level of an Alabama, Florida, LSU or Ohio State. That's also assuming Shane Morris will be "the guy" for Michigan. If not, Michigan's rise to the top could be completely derailed.
For Ohio State, a national championship should be the expectation in 2013, 2014 and beyond. That's going to be huge on the recruiting trail.
Blacknall seems pretty smitten by the OSU program in general, and the Buckeyes can offer him some pretty lofty goals. Let's not forget about FSU and LSU just yet, but Ohio State has to be feeling pretty good in this recruiting race.
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