Cheston Blackshear begins his third season at the University of New Mexico and ninth year as a collegiate coach. After spending his first two seasons coaching the Lobos' offensive tackles and tight ends, Blackshear will concentrate exclusively on tight ends in 2011. He came to UNM after three seasons at Columbia University.
Blackshear has worked with Lobo head coach Mike Locksley at two previous stops: as a graduate assistant at Florida in 2002-04 and at Illinois in 2005.
Blackshear has a stellar pupil in junior TE Lucas Reed, who is an All-America and John Mackey Award candidate in 2011. Last year, Reed was first team all-Mountain West Conference after hauling in 33 passes for 459 yards and a team-high five TDs. It's the best numbers by a Lobo tight end since John Duff (51-701-6) in 1987. Reed also led UNM with 41.7 receiving yards a game.
In 2009, Reed earned Freshman All-American honors with 17 catches for 212 yards and a TD.
Blackshear joined the Columbia staff in January 2006. He coached tight ends in 2006 and handled the offensive line in 2007-08.
Blackshear assisted the offensive line coach at the University of Florida in 2002-04, and in 2005 served as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois, working with the tight ends and offensive line coaches.
Blackshear entered coaching after an outstanding playing career at the University of Florida. He was a four-year letterwinner (1996-99) with 28 career starts at offensive guard. In 1999, Blackshear was second team All-Southeastern Conference and was awarded the Fergie Ferguson Award as the senior with the most leadership, character and courage.
Blackshear played in four bowl games with the Gators, including the 1997 Sugar Bowl when the Gators won the national championship. He also started at offensive guard in the 1997 Citrus Bowl, the 1998 Orange Bowl and the 1999 Citrus Bowl.
Following his 2000 graduation, Blackshear signed with the Carolina Panthers. He played guard with Orlando of the XFL ini 2000-01, helping the Rage lead the league in rushing. He also coached at Sandalwood High in Jacksonville, Fla.
Born in Oklahoma City, Okla., Blackshear grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. He was an all-state and Super Prep All-American at Ed White High, becoming the first offensive lineman ever awarded Player of the Year honors by the Florida Times-Union.
Blackshear received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Florida in 2000, and has credits toward a master's degree in educational policy studies.