Blackwell Making His Mark
David Blackwell came to Clemson from Pittsburgh two seasons ago after playing a major role in upgrading the talent of the Panthers. After Rick Stockstill left for East Carolina, Blackwell was quickly asked by Tommy Bowden to be the recruiting coordinator at Clemson. Blackwell accepted the job, and he immediately saw he needed to address the personnel at the line of scrimmage.
Clemson had made obvious mistakes in recruiting offensive lineman. The staff had set their sights for the stars, and had little to no fall back options. Blackwell received the go ahead to oversign the last two years on the offensive line, and it appears to have paid off. Clemson signed five offensive linemen in 2005 (Barry Humphries, Quentez Ruffin, Thomas Austin, Jamarcus Grant, and Cory Lambert). Though the Tigers most likely will only sign two offensive linemen in 2006, you can still expect to close to eight big bodies in the 2006 class.
Blackwell has repeatedly stated that Clemson will look to sign at least 8 big bodies in each class he has his stamp on. Clemson has already landed two of the premier targets they had on the board in Jamie Cumbie and Ricky Sapp.
Blackwell's ties to the South Florida area have been well documented. While Blackwell has received credit for improving Clemson's talent in the trenches, many question why Blackwell has not signed more players.
This may be where Blackwell deserves the most credit. He sees the big picture as well as any young aspiring assistant coach in the country. I will not name names, but there has been players Blackwell could have taken, and boasted his own image, but it was not in the best interest of the program so he turned them down. The personnel decisions and unselfish attitude has made Blackwell a very hot name. Defending National Champion Southern Cal made series inquires about hiring Blackwell in the same capacity, while Blackwell was being considered for the defensive coordinator's position at Clemson.
This year Blackwell has started off extremely well in recruiting. He recruited current verbal commitments Jamie Cumbie, Julius Wilkerson, and Michael Wade. Blackwell also has put Clemson in very good shape with placekicker/punter Richard Jackson and Kendrick Johnson. All three of Blackwell's commitments are rated at the top of their position within their home state.
The recruiting coordinator does not draw the praise nor the criticism that the offensive or defensive coordinators receive. It is clear that Coach Blackwell has made his mark on the Clemson program, and the upgrade in talent is evident. Now, the talent is on campus and it is to Coach Blackwell and the rest of the staff to generate talent into wins.