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Freedom gets a boost from USF star Marquel Blackwell.
By SCOTT PURKS
Published September 6, 2006
TAMPA - Yes, that is Marquel Blackwell standing on Freedom High's sideline, the same Blackwell who quarterbacked South Florida to most of the greatest victories in the university's short football history.
"We saw that he was substitute teaching a few weeks ago and we asked him if he might be interested in joining us," Freedom coach Adam Stegeman said. "He was interested and he came on and we couldn't be happier about it."
Neither could Blackwell, who at 26 said he is now "fully committed to coaching."
"There is no doubt whatsoever that this is what I want to do (as a career)," said Blackwell, who after finishing college football in 2002 had preseason stints with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Bucs but never took a snap during an NFL regular season.
"I'd like to get to the college level one day, but this is a great place to start. All these coaches here are great to work with. It seems like a perfect situation."
One of the happiest guys of all might be Freedom quarterback Andrew Carr, who said he has learned "a tremendous amount" in the few weeks he has worked with Blackwell.
"He definitely knows what he's talking about," Carr said. "He has shown me how to read things much better. There are so many things he sees and he has a great way of showing it to me."
Blackwell, who threw for 9,108 yards and 57 touchdowns for USF between 1999 and 2002, said he has learned a lot as well seeing the game from the coaching side of things.
"I've gained a whole new appreciation for coaches," he said, grinning. "I see what they're talking about when it comes to things like staying motivated and keeping pace at practice.
"But I love it, absolutely. This it for me. Definitely."