It’s a day that has college coaches across the country waiting for their phones to ring or watching a fax machine for a letter from a star high school football player to come across, committing to play at their university.
For Steelers Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount, National Letter of Intent Day has a completely different meaning.
It’s a day for him to be a proud dad.
Blount and his wife TiAnda are proud their son, Khalid, has signed a letter of intent to play at Duquesne University, continuing his education and football career right in Pittsburgh.
“I am excited for him,” said Blount. “I think it’s awesome because he is a bright student, a good kid, and a good athlete. I think he will do well at Duquesne. That is what we are excited about. The thing we always told our kids is you can have this dream of playing sports in high school or college. We don’t care if you do that or not, but always remember there is a lot of life left. When careers are over you have to be able to be productive in society and do other things. We have always stressed the importance of education.
“I know TiAnda is excited because as a mom she can get there real quick if he needs her or something. I am looking long term. I think coming out of a school like Duquesne he is already tapping into a strong pool of alumni who are doing great things around the city and country. It’s a real plus for him.”
Although the two-way lineman, who is projected to play on the defensive line, made the decision to attend Duquesne earlier, Blount made the official announcement on Wednesday at Washington High, with his parents right there with him.
“You are so proud,” said Blount. “The insight we have as guys who have been down the road have, we know the difficulties, the hard work that goes into this. It makes you appreciate the effort your kids put in. It’s going to take a lot of work, sacrifice and commitment. It teaches them at an early age the importance of hard work, sacrifice and being a team player. Together you can accomplish a lot of things. You have to be able to depend on each other. That’s the way life is, no matter what field you are in. You have to have teammates you can depend on.”
This is the Blount’s third son who has gone on to play collegiately, as the oldest Akil just finished his senior season playing linebacker at Florida A&M and played in the NFLPA Bowl, and Jibri is a forward on Cleveland State’s basketball team.
“It’s a lot of fun and sometimes nerve racking watching all of them play,” said Blount. “You want the best for them and for them to play at the highest level. I am the type of parent who probably doesn’t give enough praise, more points out the things they can do better. I learned there is a time for both, though. It’s a balancing act. Someone who played the game you try to push them, but you also give them praise and encouragement.”