Hands And Speed

Emory Blake says he always had good hands, but playing receiver just never crossed his mind.

He was kind of pushed into it.

The son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, Emory Blake has been catching passes from his father his whole life. At a young age, the elder Blake didn't go easy on his boy.

"He's been throwing it hard to me since I was 11-years old," Blake said. "I've always been good at catching."

But Blake wanted to run, run, run.

Blake arrived at Austin (Texas) High a running back, and played his whole freshman season in the backfield. He began the next season in the same spot as a sophomore, but when district play rolled around, Blake's coach wanted to get him on the field more.

Good thing he did.

"The first district game my sophomore year, I caught the game-winning pass and ever since then I've been playing wide receiver," Blake explained. "I ran a straight go-route and we beat our rival school (Westlake). We hadn't beaten them in 16 years, and after that I just played wide receiver.

"I kind of didn't want to do it at first because I wanted to be a running back. But we had a really good junior running back at the time and he started as a sophomore, and (coach) wanted all his best players on the field at one time and I understand that."

Now, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Blake loves the position, and college programs are falling in love with him.

Vanderbilt, Arizona, Houston, Oregon, Texas Tech, Northwestern, SMU, Tulsa and East Carolina, where his father and uncle Robert Jones played, have all offered a scholarship. Notre Dame, Texas, USC, Florida and LSU are a few of the many other programs showing interest in the speedy wideout.

As a sophomore, Blake had 28 receptions for 525 yards and four touchdowns. This past fall, Blake only played in five games because of a broken collarbone, but still used his 4.41 speed in the 40-yard dash to catch 22 passes for 412 yards and five scores.

In the spring, Blake stars on the track, blazing the 100-meter dash in 10.6 seconds, and the 200-meter dash in 21.8 seconds.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood put in a call to Blake's father last week.

"They called my Dad a week ago and told him they were really interested in me and wanted to offer a scholarship," Blake said. I haven't got a chance to talk to them yet, so I don't know exactly how they feel. I'm just going by what my Dad told me."

Would the Scout.com top-300 player be interested in an Irish offer?

"Definitely," Blake stated. He has a 2.8 GPA. "It's a school with great football tradition. Even though they struggled last year, they're going to get back on top. And they have good recruits coming in from last year's class, and this year's class.

"I'm kind of open to anybody. I'm just seeing what schools have to offer me."

Blake said he's seen the campuses at Texas Tulsa and LSU. He is going to try and see Texas Tech soon, and wants to camp this summer at USC, Florida and possibly LSU.

As far as a college decision goes, Blake is just playing it by ear.

"Just whenever I'm ready," Blake said. "It could be in a week, it could be on signing day. I'm not quite sure."

Perhaps Notre Dame will be in the mix.

"I really haven't talked to them. I'd have to talk to them and see what they want me to do, if they want me really bad and what they have planned for me. I'm not sure how it would effect everything."

Blake said that his father still has as good an arm as he did when he was catching balls from him as an 11-year old.

"We throw like twice a week. We have a couple people that come. Russell Shepard will come and we'll all throw."

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