Todd Blythe had to deflect
questions all last off-season about his reconstructed left knee. At the time, he
said he was 100 percent and ready to go, but that may not have been the case.
After catching a touchdown pass in the first game against
"Last year, physically I was ready to go with the knee and everything like that. But it was just bugging me more mentally than I was willing to admit," Blythe said.
But just when people began to question Blythe's ability, he had a game for the record books. A game that is still hard to fathom.
The four touchdowns were an ISU record, the 214 yards--10th all time in the Big 12 record books for a single game.
Blythe maintained that level of play, finishing the last four games with 358 yards and four more TDs. His 19.6 yards per catch led the Big 12 and was second nationally. Not bad for a slow start.
"Last year I started out real slow, and thankfully was able to pick it up and got to the way I wanted to play by the end of the season. This year my goal is to start fast and improve upon where I ended last year," Blythe said.
That's a scary thought for opposing defensive coordinators.
"This year I am completely healthy, I've had a real good off-season, made good gains in the weight room, and I know physically I'm better than I am last year, so I will be able to go out there and make more things happen," Blythe said.
Just how healthy? Todd is up to an impressive 212 pounds, leaped 36 inches in the standing vertical and was electronically timed in the low 4.5's this summer. And lest we forget, he is 6'5 and only a junior. With 10 starters returning on offense, Blythe is merely one of many weapons in Barney Cotton's arsenal.
"Personally and both as a team, we are real confident. On offense, we have a lot of guys coming back, a lot of playmakers. If Bret gets time back there in the pocket, he can pick a defense apart," Blythe said.
Todd has already shattered several
"I don't set a whole lot of personal goals, statistical goals, but one goal I do have is to get to Kansas City this year," Blythe said.
Does the added recognition bother the wide-out?
"Everyone likes the underdog role, it's good to come out and prove people wrong and prove something people didn't expect. But at the same time this year I need to go out and show people these last few years were not a fluke. Show them that I'm the real deal and able to do this on a consistent basis."
One place where Todd has earned respect is in the virtual world of video games. His virtual self in the latest video game, NCAA Football 07 is rated a 91, one of the highest ratings of a receiver in the game.
"I'm the only person that gets the ball when I'm playing. We have that at home, we're always playing. The first year we got it, when I saw myself out there it was really cool, me and Bret (Meyer) were always on the game playing," Blythe said.
Not only is he being mentioned as one of the best receivers in the nation, there is talk that the NFL scouts are drooling over his prototypical frame and skill-set. He is mentioned along names like Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, USC's Dwayne Jarrett and Notre Dame's Jeff Samardzija by many NFL experts. This may seem like a distraction, but Blythe uses it to his advantage.
"I'm a competitor; I want to be in that top group (of receivers). A lot of people have me top 10, some have me top 5. And I'm not going to be satisfied until I'm that #1 spot, and that's a ways off, I still have to keep working. I know I have work to do in every part of my game and that's what I'm going to try to do," Blythe said.
Is that why he wears the #1 jersey?
"I guess so."