Coming out of high school Blakeney felt he needed to improve his skills before testing the waters at the Division 1-A level. He signed with Delta State University and sat out his first year as a redshirt. After realizing Delta State was not the place for him, Blakeney transferred to Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
"I didn't really like it at Delta State," Blakeney said. "I transferred to Co-Lin because that is where most of my buddies from high school had gone."
The move turned out to be very productive for Jacob. He was used in both a starting and closing role while at Co-Lin. He earned first team All State and first team All Region honors as a freshman, and second team All State as a sophomore. As a sophomore he posted a 7-5 record with three saves and a 2.79 ERA.
Another positive that came out of the transfer for Blakeney was the fact that he fell under the tutelage of former MSU pitching standout Pete Young. When asked if he thought the move to the junior college helped him improve his skills, Blakeney said: "I do because I was coached by Pete Young in my pitching and he helped me out a great deal."
Several schools noticed the strides Blakeney had made, and he said, "Ole Miss recruited me and also Virginia Commonwealth. There were some other smaller schools as well."
The move to become a Bulldog was not a hard one for Jacob to make; in fact it was something that he had wanted to do. He said, "My sister had gone here and I have always liked State and always wanted to play here. After I played under Coach Young he got me a chance to play here and I really wanted to play here."
Of course the Bulldogs have a new coach in Ron Polk, and Blakeney is enthusiastic about working with the Bulldog legend. "I like him a lot," said Blakeney of his new instructor. "He is one of the best coaches I have ever had. He knows his stuff and he knows how to get it over to you and that helps a great deal." It certainly seems the players are as eager as the fans to have Coach Polk back in the dugout.
Blakeney said he welcomes the chance to play with a team with such high expectations. He said, "I am just going to try to do my best and hopefully I can play a lot. I just want to live up to what they did last year."
Jacob also realizes the deep tradition and the expectations that come with putting on the maroon and white. "There is a lot of stuff to live up here," Blakeney said of the program. "You've had some great players like Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jeff Brantley. I'm glad to get a chance to play here because all the fans make it all worth while."
Blakeney said the fans are what he looks forward to when he steps on the field: "It's just great. There's not a feeling like it to me to get out there and have all those people cheering you on and coming to watch you play."
Jacob said one of his goals for the season was getting to start some of the midweek games. That goal is very possible after the solid fall practice that he had. Blakeney impressed the coaches with a strong work ethic and his versatility in many pitching roles. The thing to watch for when he is on the mound is that he will go after the hitters. Blakeney said Coach Young told him to work hard and challenge the hitters, and that is something he has brought with him to State. It is also a quality that could make him very successful while he is here.
Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.