The News Courier 12/24/16 by Jonathan Deal
Reed Blankenship set a high-bar with a All-State-caliber junior season, despite missing several games due to injury that year.
As a senior, the do-everything Wildcat met everyone's lofty expectations and more and is the News Courier 2016 Player of the Year.
As a junior, Blankenship accounted for more than 1,900 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns for the Wildcats on his way to becoming just the second player in school history to be a first-team All-State selection.
The multi-talented Blankenship did not received his first offer until May, but it didn't take long for other schools to jump on board. By the team fall camp opened in August, he held more than a dozen Division-I offers.
Shortly before his senior year, he put an end to his recruitment by making a verbal commitment to Middle Tennessee State University, but that only increased expectations for Blankenship entering the season.
“It was hard to get people to look at him with the type of role he had in our offense,” said West Limestone head coach Jordan Cantrell. “The (scouts) didn't believe me when I told them how good he was. They didn't watch the film, then they saw him at camp and the offers started.”
Blankenship is expected to play safety at the collegiate level, but he did that and more for the Wildcats for the past four years. The only time Blankenship left the field is when his helmet was knocked off and even then, he urged trainers to to let him back in the game.
Playing quarterback, running back, wide receiver and safety, Blankenship helped West Limestone to the first nine-win regular season in school history. He finished his senior season with 2,436 total yards and 27 touchdowns.
Blankenship completed 58 of 119 pass attempts for 874 yards and eight touchdowns, carried the ball 137 times for 1,311 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also the team's biggest threat at receiver, catching 10 passes for 251 yards and six touchdowns.
“His work ethic is like no other. On the field, in the film room. He is a committed football player,” said Cantrell. “To go along with that, he is coachable. You only have to tell him one time and he remembers. He is smart as they come. He really studies the game. And he's got those physical attributes everyone wants.”
While his offensive numbers are good enough to catch the eye of any college recruiter, it's on defense where he will further his career. At West Limestone he began his career at cornerback, but started at safety for the past three seasons. He finished this season with 96 total tackles and four interceptions while also blocking an extra points.
However jaw-dropping his stats may be, his greatest attribute is an intangible that so many players don't have these days.
“Reed has had a lot of success, but he's always compliments his teammates,” said Cantrell. “He gets a lot of compliments when we talk to other people. They always compliment him, but he's quick to give credit to those around him.”