For most of this year, it's been about the damage that Joe Blanks has had to endure. Suffering from a muscle tear in the knee, Joe's been quietly but persistently trying to find his way back into shape.
He's done that and Summer conditioning just started today. Nobody is happier to be back. "Yeah, it's great getting ready and doing things now that I know I can one hundred percent."
That's how it is for Blanks and not even an injury that hampered him so much is going to keep him from going back at it again. "You can't be scared." Joe said. "You want to be scared, just don't even go out there, because once you get down on the line, nobody's going to give you anything. You have to get it yourself."
One thing that not even a layoff due to injury could stop Blanks from getting is a few offers, the most recent being Pitt and West Virginia. That added to Nebraska makes a nice trio of offers that Blanks is hoping turns into more.
Joe knows what's up though, as they say, as he's got one area to conquer that not all his formidable size will assist. "I took my SAT and I got a 950 on my PSAT, but didn't do even near that good with the SAT." he said. "I have to retake it, but I am going to do better. I know that."
Having just done a story with another Pennsylvania star in running back, Mikell Simpson, you've seen the relief a player has when the qualifying issue isn't one anymore. That's the big one for Blanks as he knows that is the only thing from him getting much more attention than he has now. "Oh, you know how it is." he said. "A team says they like you, they want you, but you know the grades are stopping them. So, I am going to make sure they don't stop me."
There will be little question as to what a healthy Joe Blanks can do on the field this year. And, if he shows the same tenacity off, Blanks will have two victories to cherish. One might wonder though, just which one will mean more.
Added stuff: The most of what attention Blanks is getting from Nebraska has been hand written letters from Callahan. Joe did say though that he hasn't received one in a while and I think the academics have to be a pretty obvious reason as to why that is. Joe has a ways to go, so we'll see, but we'll follow him this year nonetheless.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-730-5619