BOONE, N.C. — The only thing ever promised to a walk-on football player is an opportunity. That’s all former Morehead player George Blacktock ever wanted and he made the most of it impressing his Appalachian State coaches so much that he was awarded a scholarship as he heads into his sophomore season for the Mountaineers.
Despite leading the Panthers with 78 tackles, including five sacks as senior, Blackstock was largely overlooked by many schools following his high school graduation in 2017.
Looking to find a place for Blackstock to play, Panthers head coach Lin Stadler took to the phones and shopped his star around.
Unfortunately, many Division I programs deemed him as undersized as a defensive lineman at 6-1, 258 pounds.
But Stadler was able to make a connection at Appalachian and after looking at some film, the Mountaineers decided to take a chance on him as a preferred walk-on. Blackstock, who Morehead coaches described as very soft spoken, didn’t disappoint as he earned playing time at Appalachian on special teams and eventually got repetitions on defense as well.
“George is a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of kid. He doesn’t say very much, but when he does, people take notice. He does most of his talking on the field. He’s very serious, strong and smart and you are just happy to see a guy like that get an opportunity and make the most of it,” Stadler said.
Appalachian State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz made the announcement on Monday in front of teammates and praised the sophomore’s extra effort before making it official with the scholarship.
After the announcement, teammates rushed toward Blackstock's seat to celebrate the news. Moments later Blackstock addressed the group, excited and humbled for the reward of a lifetime.
"Regardless if I'm with the ones or two’s, or I'm the last man on the roster, you've got to bring it every single day," Blackstock told the team.
Considering the departure of 2018 senior captain and all-conference nose tackle MyQuon Stout, Blackstock is among the defensive linemen competing for important reps in the middle of the Mountaineers' defensive line this coming season.
Blackstock appeared in 10 games and made nine stops, including three as a key member of the line rotation during a Sun Belt Conference victory against Georgia State as a redshirt freshman.
Despite being at less than 100 percent Monday, Blackstock's determination to continue working hard in practice made a strong impression on his coaches.
"That's the kind of guy I want on my team," Drinkwitz said.
Bret Strelow of Appalachian State Athletics contributed to this story.