CODY BLANC, 6-2, 204 ATH KNOXVILLE [CENTRAL HS]
Ratings: Rivals 2*, Scout 3* No. 88 safety, ESPN 3* No. 131 athlete, 247 3* No. 76 athlete. Chose UT over Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt.
STRENGTHS: Blanc's versatility is nice, and he is pretty fast and athletic for his size. Playing in the Vols' backyard, coaches were able to witness his versatility firsthand and liked what they saw out of him at workouts and again this season. Local boy pretty much committed to UT immediately after the offer. He has good straight-line speed, and is a very intelligent, do-it-all type player. He posted an electronically-timed 4.41 40-yard dash. Also, he is a mid-term guy so that will help him learn the system and study both sides of the ball to see where he'll ultimately land.
NEEDS WORK: He simply doesn't appear "football fast" to me, and maybe it's his height that makes him just look a bit awkward out there. Doesn't appear to stand out at all on film, and he doesn't have the greatest hands. He will be able to bring a load when he gets more physical, and I believe his best position will be safety. Not that this matters, but he certainly isn't a "rankings booster," and some folks get caught up in that.
CREDENTIALS: His stats at Central last year were pretty much utility knife-like but not spectacular in just nine games for a poor team: He was 1 for 1 passing for 28 yards and a touchdown. He also had 81 carries for 433 yards for a 5.3 average and four touchdowns. He caught 10 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He finished with 69 tackles, four TFLs and four interceptions. He had a much better season as a junior where he rushed for 1,171 yards and 11 TDs last season to go along with 4 KOR TDs and 2 PR TDs. He was a 5A All-State selection the past two years.
OPTIMISTIC CEILING: Several services liken him to Knoxville product and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith. I know he's not as highly regarded as Smith coming out of high school, and he's not as bulky, but he is faster. Blanc needs a year in the weight room, but he could be a pretty solid two-year player for the Vols down the road at safety. I see nothing spectacular about his game, but nobody was too excited about Devrin Young, and that local boy turned out well. I'm excited to see a kid who bleeds orange work hard and try to work his way onto the field.