Blanton Hits the All-Star Circuit

Like many of Notre Dame's commitments in the 2008 recruiting class, Robert "R.J." Blanton's senior season ended abruptly in the state playoffs.

After previously defeating national power Independence high school in the regular season, the first North Carolina team do so since 2000, Robert Blanton's Butler high school team had to once again play Independence in the playoffs. This time the Scout.com four-star prospect's senior career ended on a disappointing night.

"I got the pick early and took it back and I thought we were going to do it again," said Blanton, who scored on the interception return for a touchdown less than one minute into the game.

But that was the only touchdown Butler would score on the night as Blanton's team ended their season in a 20-7 defeat at the hands of Independence.

"I really feel disappointed that I couldn't give my fellow senior teammates the championship I told them we'd win my freshman year," he said. "I'm really disappointed about that. Certain things happen in life, but you've just got to keep pushing."

Like many others in the 2008 Notre Dame recruiting class, Blanton now turns his attention to all-star games. He'll be playing in two games over the next month.

"I'm in the North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl," the 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback prospect said. "I leave this coming weekend on the 8th for that. The game is on December 15th. I'm really looking forward to that. I think that is going to be a great time."

He'll be playing against another Notre Dame recruit and the rivalry started during Blanton's last visit to Notre Dame.

"Notre Dame is recruiting a big offensive linemen from there named Kenneth Page," Blanton said. "He was talking some junk there when I was on my official, and I'm just going to let him feel the pain on the field. I didn't say much. I'll just do my talking on the field."

That would be a new approach for the Matthews, N.C. native who admits he does like a little spirited chatter on the field.

"I try not to do too much talking. I kind of let my pads do the talking. Every now and again I'll let a couple slip out," said Blanton with a big laugh. "I got into trouble a couple of times for talking, so I'm trying to calm it down a bit."

So why does Blanton like to talk on the field?

"When you beat people in football games you don't take much. When you beat them down and you talk them down you kind of take a little bit of their pride away," he said with another loud giggle.

After the Shrine Bowl Blanton will then turn his attention to the Army All-American Bowl. There he'll also face some other Irish commitments and he's looking forward to the challenge.

"I'm excited about that," said Blanton, who is also nominated for the Doc Blanchard award presented at the game along with fellow Irish commitment Jonas Gray. The award recognizes achievements both on the field and in the community.

"I found out about it a couple of weeks ago," he said about being nominated for the award. "I feel quite honored just to be mentioned. It feels great just to know that people look at me as a positive leader. That would be a great honor to win it."

The top cornerback prospect will also face fellow Irish commitment Mike Floyd in the game.

"Michael Floyd was actually there when I came for my official visit," he said. "We hung out for awhile. He's a really cool guy. We got along very well. We didn't talk much junk about the game, but I'm sure when we get down there, and we spend a little time down there we'll get a little rivalry going . Maybe some bragging rights heading into our time at Notre Dame."

The Irish commitment has also spent a lot of time recently with the Irish coaching staff and he's excited to play for his future position coach, Bill Lewis.

"I really like coach Lewis," said Blanton. "He's really down to earth. He had a lot of funny stories to tell us. He's a really cool guy. He's a guy you can talk to. I'm excited to get up there and get started. After these games, my high school career is over, so I really want to get up there and get started. I'm already starting to get anxious."

Blanton also said he's excited that Notre Dame ended their season the way they did.

"It was great to see them win their last two," he said. "I'm glad those guys got some wins under their belt. The way I look at it, they're 2-0 right now. Hopefully we'll be able to build on that when I get up there."


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