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Manalapan Football Player Changes Commitment From Rutgers to Penn State

Saeed Blacknall committed to Rutgers in August, but announced he would go to Penn State Sunday night.

Manalapan High School senior wide receiver Saeed Blacknall will attend Penn State instead of Rutgers, he announced via Twitter Sunday night. (Patch file photo)
Manalapan High School senior wide receiver Saeed Blacknall will attend Penn State instead of Rutgers, he announced via Twitter Sunday night. (Patch file photo)
Manalapan High School standout Saeed Blacknall has de-committed from Rutgers University and will play college football at Penn State.

The 6-foot-3, 205 pound wide receiver made the announcement via Twitter Sunday night when he sent out a tweet that stated “I have officially committed to THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY,” with the hashtag #WeARE.

He posted two follow-up tweets that read “Thanks for everyones support at RU this was not easy” and “WE ARE” with a photo of him standing on the football field at Beaver Stadium, where Penn State plays its home games.

Blacknall committed to Rutgers just before the start of the 2013 season. At the time, he said he made his decision following an official visit to Rutgers and a conversation with wide receiver Brandon Coleman, who has since made the decision to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

Before announcing his intentions to attend Rutgers, Blacknall had been rumored to be deciding between Alabama and Louisiana State, with Ohio State and Notre Dame also under consideration.

In August, Blacknall decided he wanted to stay close to home. He also cited Rutgers’ recent success and the University’s pending move to the Big 10. He now will play for a team Rutgers will play every year in the Big 10, as both Penn State and Rutgers will be in the new Big 10 East Division.

Rutgers went 6-7 in 2013, including a loss in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to Notre Dame.

Penn State was 7-5, and is not permitted to play in the postseason until 2016 due to sanctions placed on the program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Penn State is also playing with fewer scholarships than every other NCAA Division I FBS team.

The Nittany Lions will also have their fourth head coach since 2011, as former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin takes the helm after Bill O'Brien went 15-9 in two years at Penn State.

Penn State will be Rutgers’ inaugural Big 10 opponent when the Nittany Lions visit the Scarlet Knights on Sept. 13.

Blacknall made his decision to go to Penn State with a week and a half left until National Signing Day, the day high school athletes sign their college letters of intent. National Signing Day is Feb. 5.

Blacknall helped lead Manalapan to an 11-2 record in 2013, including an appearance in the Central Jersey Group V championship game, where it lost to Hunterdon Central, 21-0. That game was played at Rutgers.



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