Blanks has plenty to say

The start to Clemson's 2011 season has surprised plenty of folks across the country, including four-star commitment Travis Blanks.

CB Travis Blanks Profile

The North Florida Christian [Tallahassee] senior defensive back is proud to see his soon to be teammates off to a sizzling 8-0 start.

"It's like every week they surprise more and more people," Blanks told in a recent interview. "I certainly didn't expect a start like this. I didn't really have any expectations, good or bad. I certainly didn't expect them to be BCS top-five."

Back in June, when he made his commitment to the Tigers, Blanks said there were plenty of critics questioning his decision.

"You can read the message boards, when I committed, everybody was like, what is he thinking? He committed this early?

"I looked on one message board, it was like the top-10 biggest, wrong commitments. They had me one there as No. 1. It kind of said, 'This is wrong. Dabo Swinney might not even be there for his whole career.'

"I look back on that and kind of laugh."

Now, the No. 80 overall prospect in the class of 2012, Blanks is counting down the days before he returns to Clemson.

His last trip to Tigertown was a September official visit.

"That was awesome. I was committed, but that just made me even more committed," he said. "I just got to spend time with coach Swinney, my position coach, coach [Charlie] Harbison, coach [Kevin] Steele, coach [Jeff] Scott. I ate dinner with all those guys and their wives, spent time with them. I went to church with coach Swinney on Sunday.

"It just kind of sealed it up for me. Those guys are family-oriented. It's a family atmosphere. You can learn all about football from those guys. It's a staff like none other."

His good buddy, four-star Miami commitment Keith Brown, was also in Clemson on an official visit that weekend.

"We went to The Opening together. I was just like, 'Man, I'm telling you, Keith. You need to visit Clemson.' A lot of people get the perception that Clemson is whack. That's the same thing that I thought, until I visited. I was just, 'Keith, just visit,'" Blanks said. "We ended up planning our officials on the same weekend. Got down there, hung out the whole weekend. He just loved it. Keith loved it. That really got his attention.

"He's just trying to get his mother up there, because you always have to run it by your mother. That's kind of what has things on a standstill."

Back home in Tallahassee, Blanks is preparing for the stretch run of his senior season. His high school days are coming to a close, too, as the No. 6 safety in the class of 2012 will enroll at Clemson in January.

"We're undefeated [7-0]. I tweaked my hamstring a week ago, so these next two weeks I won't be playing. I'll be back before the playoffs. I don't want to injure myself anymore than I already am," he said.

So far this season, Blanks has 42 tackles and three interceptions.

On Wednesday night, he was on the phone with Harbison for close to an hour.

"We just talked. I keep in touch with those guys every week," Blanks said.

Upon his arrival to Clemson, the plan is to have Blanks play cornerback.

"That's what they want me to play. Coach Swinney, coach Steele, coach Harbison -- they all want me to play corner," he said. "They've been looking for a big corner on the edge that can run, play man-to-man and jam some guys. They've been kind of looking for that. I'm coming in early, as possibly that next guy. It's a huge opportunity for me to come in and possibly compete for a job and see how that goes."

As for other schools making a late push, Blanks said all that stuff is over.

"I made it pretty clear that I'm solid with Clemson. For the most part, I've stayed out of the media and laid low, so I'm not really hearing from a lot of people."

As a junior, Blanks had 104 tackles and four interceptions. Offensively, he hauled in 35 receptions for 356 yards and eight touchdowns. Top Stories