Saeed Blacknall has always been there. Lurking, just waiting.
He might be waiting all game, or a week, but sooner or later he makes a play.
A key touchdown in Penn State's eventual overtime loss to Ohio State in 2014. A 25-yard touchdown against Michigan the following year. in 2016, the New Jersey product pulled down six catches and two touchdowns in the Big Ten Championship game. Blacknall will vanish for weeks, and then reappear only to make an impact.
Of course this hasn't been the perfect career path for Blacknall. It has been sprinkled with a fairly low completion rate, and weeks where the seemingly talented senior has been the odd man out in the game plan. But Blacknall continues ahead, his 2017 season has been his best, more importantly his most consistent and once again, with plenty of impactful catches to his name.
"I know on the sidelines I've got Trace in my ear and (DaeSean Hamilton) and everyone telling me to stay ready," Blacknall said after practice this week. "Basically I've been trusting the process all four years I've been here. That's never been a problem. It's one of those things that I'm always ready to take advantage of my shot when it comes."
Blacknall's only catch last week against Michigan State, a looping 27-yard catch and score that left Spartan defenders in the dust. The week prior a big 21-yard reception against Ohio State. Two more big plays in a career short on catches, just 45 through three years and change, but not short on impact.
"I look back and I see how they added up," Blacknall added. "I haven't had the production that everyone else had, but it's one of those things where I've stayed focused with it and that's probably the hardest part. Just staying with it."
The key moving forward, staying the course. Blacknall could test well at his Pro Day, and given the right chance, still has plenty of potential to evolve at the next level.
"Honestly just working," Blacknall said. "We always stay after every day. It's not even about what I'm doing on the field, it's just continuing to make forward steps in my game."