Jonathan Deal @ The News Courier
Reed Blankenship has decided.
The West Limestone football standout verbally committed to the Middle Tennessee State University Wednesday night. Blankenship made the announcement with a statement he released on Twitter.
“I would like to thank my family, coaches and friends for giving me support and encouragement while I was making my decision God has truly blessed me by giving the ability and opportunity to play football at the next level … I will be furthering my education and playing the sport I love at Middle Tennessee State University!”
The verbal commitment comes the day before West Limestone begins its season with a highly anticipated matchup with Class 2A No. 6 Tanner. Tanner came from behind to beat West Limestone 28-21 last year.
Despite a breakout season in 2015 in which he was named first-team All-State, Blankenship did not receive his first collegiate offer until mid-June. Since then, the West Limestone quarterback has received a dozen Division I offers, including Big Ten school, Minnesota.
During the first week of fall camp, Blankenship said it was MTSU that had been recruiting him the hardest, sending as many 52 letters in one day.
“It's exciting, but very, very stressful,” Blankenship told The News Courier in late July. “It's a lot to think about. I started the summer thinking that I'm never going to get an offer. But as soon as they started coming in, it blew my mind.”
With Blankenship at quarterback, West Limestone went from 3-7 in 2014 to 8-4 this past season, including an impressive road playoff victory over Saks. He finished the season with 616 passing yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He carried the ball 176 times for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 158 yards and five touchdowns — all while missing two games due to injury.
He was a first-team All-State selection as a defensive back where he made 74 total tackles, had two interceptions and returned a fumble for a touchdown. In the playoff win against Saks, he ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns, threw for 31 yards and a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, blocked a field goal and registered a career-high 16 solo tackles.
Although he garners attention playing quarterback in West Limestone's unique offense, it's the defensive side of the ball where colleges want him most.
“Playing safety, you've got a lot to worry about. You have to tell people what to do,” said Blankenship.
He won't have to wait long to prove himself against other top talent. West is home to play a Tanner team tonight led by four-star athlete Chadarius Townsend, an Alabama commitment.