ROCHESTER, Mich., Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The last time Michigan State Spartans made it to the Rose Bowl, the now Director of College Advancement and Performance & Camp Director, Curtis Blackwell, was just a 10-year-old tyke throwing around a football with dreams of a career in sports.
25 years later, August 2013, MSU made it official in hiring Blackwell to oversee Spartans' football recruiting efforts.
Deemed a "game changer" by MSU Coach, Mark Dantonio, just three weeks into his tenure, Blackwell was credited with immediate recruiting gains.
As Blackwell "climbed the ladder" with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Management from Hampton University, the first recipient of the American Football Coaches Association/Baylor University joint Sports Administration Graduate Scholarship, a Master's degree in Sports Administration from Baylor University, and Co-Founder and former Vice President of the "Lifting As We Climb Foundation," via the Foundation's "Sound Mind Sound Body" football camp, coupled with his unparalleled connections within football, Blackwell "lifted" a few of the nation's top collegiate prospects right up to MSU.
On August 1, when MSU made the official announcement, talk of such flooded the Twitter newsfeed (to quote a few):
Rico Beard of the Ryan & Rico Show Detroit Sports 105.1, tweeted: "Michigan State hires Curtis Blackwell (Sound Mind Sound Body) to the football staff. Official announcement coming in a few days. #Spartans"
Damon Webb Sr., father of a 2014 Cass Tech DB committed to OSU, tweeted: "MSU hiring Curt Blackwell is like getting the number #1 player/recruit in the Nation. Somethings about to change here in the state Mi wow!"
MGoBlog's recruiting writer, Ace Anbender, tweeted: "Very interesting hire by MSU. Running Sound Mind Sound Body means Blackwell has a lot of connections with in-state recruits. And, just as importantly, their high school coaches. People tweeting that Blackwell's hiring won't matter should look up the MaxEx 7-on-7 teams he ran. Lots of talent on those teams."
"What does it mean? Well, it should help with recruiting, obviously. I've said before that Dantonio and staff have raised the talent floor, and they bring in good classes and find diamonds in the rough. They still need to raise the talent ceiling, and the hope is that Blackwell will do that," said Chris Vannini, Managing editor of "The Only Colors."
On Saturday, December 7, MSU recorded its school-record 12th win of the 2013 season by defeating second-ranked Ohio State, 34-24, in the Big Ten Championship Game.
MSU is headed to Pasadena, CA to play Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game on January 1. This will mark a program-record seventh consecutive bowl appearance and MSU's first-ever Bowl Championship Series appearance.
Though many are crediting Blackwell's recruiting prowl for MSU's trip to the Rose Bowl, Blackwell states, "There's no 'I' in team! Give credit where credit is due – the unwavering talent and extraordinary athletic ability amongst our players, and the successful and relentless coaching and mentoring efforts/ability from our coaches and team staff … they're the reason why we're here. I'm just excited to be a part of the team and assist in any way I can."
Appreciating Blackwell's humble demeanor, but given the fact that it will be 26 years since MSU has made that trip to the Rose Bowl, one can't help but wonder and credit Blackwell thus far.
Waiting and anticipating the "big day!" #GoSpartans
Jennifer L. Payne
SOURCE Curtis Blackwell