"On October 20, I had my first official visit to Notre Dame," Blackwell said. "I arrived on Friday and was only supposed to stay for the day, but I was hanging out with the players, things ran late and I ended up leaving early Saturday (October 21) instead. The trip to Notre Dame was somewhat difficult because we flew in and out of Chicago. It's a drive to Notre Dame from Chicago.
"When I arrived at Notre Dame I met with Coach Charlie Weis. He walked me through the program and introduced the hosts: Sam Young (offensive line), Dan Wenger (offensive line) and Luke Schmidt (running back). All the guys were great. I attended with two other recruits, Matt Romine (four-star offensive guard) and Ryan Miller (five-star offensive tackle). We ate some great food, hung out with the players and met some of their friends. There isn't a lot to do in South Bend, so we pretty much just toured the school and had some innocent fun.
"I do plan on taking five official visits," said Scout.com's No. 18 defensive tackle. "Because Notre Dame was my first official visit, I don't have any other visits to compare it with. I'll have to wait and see which school will stand out. As of right now, all three schools are an option.
"On December 8, I visit Florida. I had an in-home visit on yesterday (December 3) from Coach Greg Mattison (co-defensive coordinator/defensive line). He met my parents and wanted to make sure I was still considering Florida. I'm looking forward to the visit and meeting all the players. As recruits all we have to do is pack and get on the plane. The coaches are the ones who have to do all the planning.
"I feel lucky and honored that all three of these schools are taking the time to meet with me," Blackwell said. "They are all powerhouses, have great traditions, great programs and are looking to play me early. What else can a player ask for?
"LSU was the first school to offer. They've been there from the beginning and I'm close to the coaching staff. It's my home-state school and they have a great reputation. I have friends that play for LSU, like Mark Snyder (offensive line), and even though distance really isn't a factor--I'm sure my family would like me to stay close to home. My official visit to LSU will be on December 15.
"I'm taking all five official visits," he said. "I just haven't decided where I will take the other two visits. If I were contacted again by a West Coast school, I'd probably go on an official visit out there. I'd want to compare a West Coast school to those in my neck of the woods.
"I didn't grow up having a favorite school. My parents don't favor a particular school and I don't have a favorite now. I'll probably make my decision at the end of January. I talk to all three schools at least once or twice a day. It was pretty hectic while my team (10-1) was in the second round of play-offs. We've been done with our games for about two weeks. Now I can focus on making a decision. It's a long process, but fun. It was just hard to focus on making a decision while we were in the play-offs. I needed to focus on the play-offs first, now I can focus on college."
Final senior (10-1) stats: 70 tackles/11 tackles for loss/5 sacks.
Blackwell reports a 3.5 core GPA and a 24 ACT.