Gavin Blackwell Named SI All-American Top 10 Slot Receivers

Along with being an SI All-American candidate, four-star wide receiver Gavin Blackwell is now listed as a top 10 slot receiver.
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Along with being an SI All-American candidate, four-star wide receiver Gavin Blackwell is now listed as a top 10 slot receiver. 

The Monroe, NC native committed to North Carolina in February; at the time, he was Coach Mack Brown's highest ranked recruit. Blackwell chose UNC over LSU, Ohio State, South Carolina, Florida, and Virginia Tech.

If the area of Blackwell's hometown sounds recognizable, Sun Valley, that's because he is former teammates with current Carolina quarterback, Sam Howell. The two played together during Blackwell's sophomore year where he amassed 51 passes for 1136 yards and 19 touchdowns. During his recent junior year, 68 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns.

Blackwell is ranked by 247 Sports as No. 14 in his position and No. 4 in the state. 

John Garcia, Director of Recruiting for SI All-American, breaks down Blackwell's game by frame, athleticism, instincts, and polish. 

Prospect: Gavin Blackwell
Status: SI All-American candidate
Vitals: 6-foot, 165 pounds
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley
Committed to: North Carolina
Projected Position: Wide Receiver

Frame: Wound tight with good definition and composition. Defined abdomen with a thin waist and lower half.

Athleticism: Jumped nearly 36 inches and posted a 4.63 40-yard dash time as a sophomore. Displays good foot quickness and is capable of using impressive foot fire when stemming on slants. He is a bouncy and springy athlete with a smooth burst and good speed. Does a very good adjusting to balls in flight and shows impressive body control to contort his frame to haul back-shoulder throws.

Instincts: Can stem up coverage on the perimeter and use solid sinkage to grow gaps on digs and comebacks. He also flashes a push-by technique to adjust and elude underneath coverage. Good eyes to track to throws and can pluck with his hands, even in crowds. Capable of making the first defender miss and has the solid vision to find open lanes downfield with the ball.

Polish: Aligns mostly to the field and executes motions and quick-game concepts. Runs a route tree that features slants, verts, comebacks, and back-shoulder fades. Attempts to tempo his releases, but will need to improve his initial stemming. Needs to add strength to combat press-man coverage. He also must continue improving his RAC-skills and creativity with the ball.

Bottom Line: Blackwell is an athletic receiver prospect with good speed and hands. He is not the biggest or most physically imposing, but he possesses good foot quickness, route urgency, and ball skills. After working on some areas of his game and growing in the nuances of the position, look for Blackwell to fit best as a classic “Z” receiver at the next level.

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