Hopefully by now you have read our feature story on Bluffton defensive end Shameik Blackshear, who is gunning to become the state’s top recruit in the next two years. If you haven’t read that piece, you can check it out by clicking here.
Below are even more quotes from Blackshear, Bluffton coach Ken Cribb, recruiting analyst Jim Baxter and York coach Bobby Carroll that didn’t make their way into the story. Enjoy.
Here’s more of what the defensive end had to say about his conversations with defensive line coach Brad Lawing:
“He said most kids can make it at the high school level because they just have that talent. But he said, ‘Once you get to the college level, everyone is D1. Everyone is good. It won’t work. You have to have speed, strength, toughness and all that.’”
“He was just like, when you get to the D1 level nothing is easy. Eveyone is D1, everybody trains hard, everybody is strong, everybody is fast. They have that mental toughness and they have that mindset. As a high schooler you can have it. But when you get to D1 it’s grown men.”
“It was just some advice. When (Jadeveon) Clowney was in my shoes, he spoke to Clowney at the same age, the same time. He was about the same size as me. He told me, ‘You’ve got the God-given ability to go out there and dominate. But when that next level comes, you can’t just go on ability. You have to work at it to be great. You have to lift every day, eat right, run and train to be the best at the college level. It’s not as easy as at the high school level.’”
On becoming the state’s next high-profile defensive end:
“I want to be the next great defensive end. It’s just that they’re giving us more of a chance to utilize our talent, our length and our quickness in getting to the quarterback. They make it easier on us because we have the ability to get around the corner quicker. Some of them are stronger than most offensive lineman, so they have the power as well.”
On who he likes to compare himself to:
“I would really say like a Carlos Dunlap because I’m more like a power person. I’d rather go off power because it’s what I have in me. I compare myself in different areas with different players, not all in one player. Clowney’s ability to make plays, I’m like Clowney. I can make a play when I’m called on to make a play. As far as like, getting the job done like busting up the backfield, I’m like a Carlos Dunlap. He always get a tackle for loss or a sack or a forced fumble. He always messes the play up from the start. I can see myself being that kind of player.
On if he has a list of favorite colleges yet:
“I really couldn’t say now. I just talked a few people and I spoke with (Bluffton corner) Anthony Smith. (He said,) “I was looking at Presbyterian because that’s all I had. But once you look around and take visits you’ll see more than just what Carolina has to offer. ... Don’t always be set on one school because one school you go to you might like because you’ve only been there. But others could be 10 times better.”
Bluffton coach Ken Cribb
On the work Blackshear is putting in on all fronts:
“Right now, he’s almost maxed out because his grades are really good, he’s really doing a good job as a student. He’s working out really, really hard. He’s getting stronger fast and growing. For a 15-year-old to work like he’s working with all the attention he’s got, I’m real proud of how level-headed he’s staying and how grounded he is.”
On why the work in the weight room is so important”
“Everybody is the same as what you were. You were the big dog, once you get there, it ain’t nothing there but big dogs. ... This is way more important than on the field, as far as preparing yourself to be able to compete.”
On what he remembers from Blackshear’s conversations with college coaches:
“They just talk about how it’s just starting for him and how interested they are and what’s important. I think they really helped Shameik with understanding the process and what he’s up against. Expectations.”
“Whenever Brad Lawing was at Carolina, he came in and he really had a great conversation with Shameik. I thought it really hit home. (He talked) about being great and still being coached and not getting caught up in that crap.”
What makes him such a high-profile prospect?
“The game has changed. The range, he can bat balls with his height, he’s fast enough to come off the edge. It used to be you didn’t have to worry about the speed. You used to worry about the power game. Now the game is going really, really fast. That’s why more kids built like him are becoming big. That used to be a tight end, now he’s a defensive end. He’d be a phenomenal tight end.”
Recruiting analyst Jim Baxter
How do Blackshear and Clowney compare, differ?
“Clowney was varsity-ready when he got to ninth grade. That doesn’t mean that he was perfect, he still had a learning curve and had to learn how to play the game differently. He was going up against kids that were three or four years older. From a physical standpoint, he was pretty developed as a ninth grader. He had to put on some weight.”
“They both needed to put on weight. I think Blackshear is a kid that needs some physical development in the weight room. I felt like Clowney was the same way. From a sheer standpoint of playing the game and playing that defensive end position, it’s a big goal for Blackshear to set to be like Clowney was. I’ve been doing this since 1984, I can tell you Clowney is one of the best high school football players I’ve ever seen.”
“I think the biggest difference in them is that blackshear probably doesn’t know how talented he could be. Here’s the comparison - Clowney was dominating at his position. And I don’t think Blackshear is there yet. I think that he is certainly a player that has the physical prowess and the skills to dominate that position like Clowney did, but he’s not there yet. I think the biggest thing is going to be, Clowney even as a sophomore, he was not what he was as a junior and a senior. But he just got progressively better as he went through high school.”
“I think the comparison part between Shameik and Jadeveon is going to come after Shameik’s junior year, to see exactly where he came. Where did he fall after his junior year? Did he really progress from his sophomore to junior year or does he still have work to do?”
Where will Blackshear need to improve?
“Studying the game, becoming a student of the game, watching film. He’ll notice it this year if it hasn’t already started. He’s going to get double-teamed. He’s going to have different schemes coming at him. People are going to game plan for him. How he handles that is going to be huge."
When did Clowney start really coming on?
“In-between his junior year was his coming out party. If that kid (Blackshear) is going to set a name for himself, he’s really got to have a phenomenal junior year.”
What advice would you give Blackshear?
"Just continue to work hard every single day, not only in athletics but academics. That’s becoming harder and harder and harder to get into school academically. Don’t be selfish and don’t put yourself on a pedastal. Always keep the team first, because that was the great thing about Clowney. He was never selfish and he didn’t go around pounding his chest like he was Hercules when he was in high school. He was just the teammate of another player. He was a humble kid. There were people that blocked him and there were times he didn’t make plays. But you enjoyed having him out there because he did make plays.”