Brampton(Ontario) '99-born defenseman Ian Blacker announced via Twitter that he has verbally committed to play college hockey at Western Michigan:
Proud and honored to announce that I have verbally committed to Western Michigan University. Thanks to all who have got me here! #Broncos— Ian Blacker (@IanBlacker27) January 19, 2015
Sean LaFortune, head scout for TheScout.ca had high praise for Blacker:
Blacker is a 6’3 defender with impressive tools. Agile, very quick in all four directions. Tough yet skilled. Comparable to Darnell Nurse.— Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) January 19, 2015
Blacker was projected as a first round OHL Draft pick prior to his commitment. Generally, there's serious concern about a top Canadian-born prospect committing to an NCAA school prior to going through his respective CHL Draft. The success rate of those players sticking with their commitments is relatively low. But one of the exceptions to that rule was Blacker's own older brother Ben, a goalie currently with Cedar Rapids of the USHL, who committed to Western Michigan at a young age and has turned down multiple overtures from the OHL to be a Bronco next season.
LaFortune suggested that the younger Blacker is likely to follow in his older brother's footsteps by playing for Cedar Rapids next season(Blacker's parents would have to move to Iowa with him to work around Hockey Canada rules) and potentially accelerate his education to graduate high school a year early and join Western Michigan prior to his NHL Draft year in 2016-2017.