Former USM Running Back Gets Potential Break with NSFL - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Former USM Running Back Gets Potential Break with NSFL

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The Forrest County Spartans gear up for the second round of the Magnolia Football League playoffs.

The team stays loose after defeating the Brookhaven Lions 48-26 in the opening round of the playoffs.

Now they take their big play offense to Jackson for a matchup against the one seed Mississippi Maddogs.

A big part of their gameplan figures to feature a heavy dose of former Southern Miss running back Tim Blackwell.

The journeyman keeps his dreams alive in the same city his journey started in more than ten years later.

"I've been doing this a long time, from Mize High School to The University of Southern Mississippi, so it's not like it's nothing new - just a re-surfacing," says Blackwell.

Blackwell says his three-year career with the Golden Eagles was cut short after being labeled academically ineligible before his senior season.

He spent a year in the Canadian Football League in 2005, before bouncing around in the Arena Football League for the next seven years.

Now he is back in Hattiesburg making noise for the Forrest County Spartans.

Blackwell averages 8.6 yards per carry on the season at 31 years of age.

"Like I said I kind of never lost it. To be out here with these young kids, and doing the things that I am doing - it's alright," says Blackwell.

Blackwell sits at 516 yards on only 60 carries for the season.

That's enough for the National Spring Football League to bend its 29-year-old age limit.

"They let me in at 31, so it must be a reason, so we're just going to see where it goes," says Blackwell.

The the first-year league serves as a feeder system for the NFL and CFL. 

Blackwell says he was asked to attend an NSFL invitation only super regional combine in Atlanta in late August, a feeling he describes as déjà vu.

"Feels like I'm reliving my college days again," says Blackwell.

But Blackwell plans on a different outcome this time around.

"Now I know how to handle everything - got my priorities kind of together, and know how it is to be at the bottom of this thing so there's no way but up," says Blackwell.

He says time and place make the opportunity that much more rewarding.

"Now that I'm back close to home playing right here in Hattiesburg where I went to college at, it's just making it that much sweeter," says Blackwell.

Blackwell and the Spartans take on the Maddogs at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Pearl High School.

For more information on the NSFL, visit their website: http://www.thensfl.com/

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