Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Kennedy McKoy (4) is among the West Virginia running backs awaiting new assistant coach Marquel Blackwell.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen formalized the hiring of running backs coach Marquel Blackwell on Thursday, bringing aboard the former Toledo assistant.

“We would like to welcome Marquel and his family to the West Virginia football program,” Holgorsen said. “He comes highly recommended and brings successful experience coaching running backs. He will be a great addition to our staff as a coach and recruiter.”

Blackwell’s previous coaching stops included off-the-field positions at Florida, USF and Western Kentucky. The 38-year-old also coached in the high school ranks in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, a region where his recruiting ties could be pivotal. He coached 20 high school players who earned Division I scholarships, according to his bio.

A source with knowledge of the WVU search said Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin was among the coaches who recommended Blackwell. Sumlin was head coach as at Texas A&M when Blackwell spent a season working with Florida’s quarterbacks as a quality control coach.

“He’s very professional at what he does in recruiting,” the source said. “West Virginia was impressed by what he accomplished with the running backs in Toledo’s offense, and there’s familiarity because they run a similar system.”

Blackwell signed his contract less than two weeks before West Virginia opens spring practice. He inherits a unit led by juniors Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway, sophomore Tevin Bush and redshirt freshman Alec Sinkfield.

Four-star signee Leddie Brown also is coming aboard.

“I am excited about coming to West Virginia and being a part of its long and successful football tradition,” Blackwell said. “This is a great opportunity for me to work and learn under a great offensive coach like Dana Holgorsen and expand my knowledge in his offensive system. My family and I are looking forward to being members of the Mountaineer family.”

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