Auburn "In His Heart," Big O Tackle Says

Juco standout Dontavious Blair talks about his official visit to Auburn and why the Tigers are his leader.

Garden City, Kan.--Auburn set the bar high--very high--for other colleges to top in the recruitment of offensive tackle Dontavius Blair.

The six-foot-seven sophomore at Garden City Community College took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend. He didn't commit to the Tigers, but said he came close.

"This was my first official visit and I am going to take my others, but if it's not in your heart it isn't right and Auburn is in my heart," he said. "Auburn is at the top. I really loved it."

"It was a great visit," he said, noting it will be "hard" for anyone to move ahead of the Tigers. "I loved everything about it from the coaches, to the facilities to the players."

Blair said he came close to telling the Auburn coaches on Saturday he is headed to the Plains after he put on an Auburn jersey in the locker room at Jordan-Hare Stadium. "It was a great feeling."

Dontavius Blair will be a sophomore this fall at his junior college in Kansas.

The former Anniston High School player said he was impressed with the facilities, particularly the new dorm that is scheduled to open in August. He likes that it is located across the street from the football complex and the amenities such as washers and dryers in the in room, noting he has to travel a mile to wash his clothes from his dorm in Kansas.

On Friday night he was welcomed to Auburn by a large portion of the team and they hung out together. "I felt like home instantly," he said.

One of the reasons for that was hanging out with new Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who was the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year in 2012 at Garden City Community College.

Blair considers the quarterback a good friend and is one of the reasons the Tigers are his leader. "With me blocking for him and knowing what he is capable of doing, and him making me a better person because the type of man he is, you can't beat that," the offensive tackle said.

Blair said that Marshall has already made a good impression with his new teammates with his strong arm and quick feet. "That is all they were talking about," he said. "They are loving him and I love him."

The offensive tackle said that he believes Marshall can make an immediate impact like Cam Newton did for the Tigers in 2010. "I see the big future for Nick," he said. "The quarterback runs the team. If the quarterback has got it, the whole team has got it. Seriously.

I believe he can throw the football, flat-footed, 80 yards...maybe 90 yards," Blair noted.

A player who is a second cousin of the state's top running back prospect, Roc Thomas from Oxford High, Blair said that he hasn't set up any more official visits. He said that Tennessee, where he has visited unofficially, and FSU are the two most likely destinations for official visits. He also said he plans to return to Auburn.

One of the things he likes about Auburn is the coaching staff. "They are straight forward about everything," he said. "They aren't hiding anything."

The tackle is being recruited by Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. "Coach Lashlee is a great man," the prospect said. "He is straight-forward about everything."

He is also high on offensive line coach J.B. Grimes. "I spent a lot of time with him," the prospect said.." He is the type of coach who can keep a smile on your face. I believe if I was to come to Auburn and I was feeling down about something, I could go to his office just to get a smile."

Blair, who is scheduled to graduate, was asked what he considers his strength as a football player. "I would say character," he said. "Character will go a long way. I am working at getting better as an all-around player. You can always improve."

Blair is shown in action for Garden City Community College.

Asked how much he has improved since his senior season at Anniston High, he said, "A lot better. I am at a whole different level you could say."

Blair plays left tackle for Garden City, but said he can play on the right side, too.

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