Both positions played a limited role in the spread, mainly seeing the field in short yardage and goal line situations. But in the West Coast-type offense favored by new Tulane head coach Bob Toledo, both tight end and fullback will be on the field for every snap.
So one of the recruiting missions this past spring for Toledo's new staff was to go forth and sign some tight ends and fullbacks. And they did, signing five: fullback/linebacker Cody Blackwelder, tight end Tyler Helms, tight end/ fullback Antoine Duplessis, fullback/defensive end Josh Smith, and tight end/fullback/ linebacker Jordan Stephany.
Tonight we'll take a quick look at Blackwelder.
Blackwelder, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound fullback/linebacker from Cedar Creek School in Ruston, verbally committed to Tulane just before Christmas. An A-student sporting a 28 ACT score, Blackwelder was named All-Parish and All-District 2-1A after both his junior and senior seasons. He was also named to the All-Northeast Louisiana team by the Monroe News-Star as a senior.
Despite the coaching change at Tulane, all but one of the dozen prospects who committed to the school under former head coach Chris Scelfo held firm as new coach Bob Toledo took the reins. Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson played a vital part in preventing a stampede of verbal commitments away from the Green Wave, contacting each prospect to assure them that they had a scholarship no matter what or who wqas hired to replace Scelfo.
To contribute as a collegian, Blackwelder has to improve both his upper and lower body strength.
A four-year letterman at Cedar Creek High where he saw time at fullback, running back, defensive end and linebacker and was both the team's offensive and defensive MVP.
In additon to the honors cited earlier, this past season Cody was named All-Lincoln Parish and All-District 2 1-A. He also earned all-state honors as a senior after being named second-team all-state as a junior. Altogether the Cougars had a combined 26-8 record and and trips to the state playoffs over his final three prep seasons.
In addition to the on the field honors, Blackwelder was named to the Class 1-A academic all-state and composite (all class) academic all-state teams.
Altogether, Cody's statistical ledger shows he gained 2,072 career yards on 286 carries, scored 28 touchdowns on the ground, one through the air and scored on five two-point conversions.
Blackwelder's rep is that he's the kind of bruiser you want in a lead blocker. And because the Wave had only one fullback on the roster during spring practice, he's got as good a chance to play as a true freshman as any of the other freshmen.