The right fit: Cody Blanc

Derek Dooley isn't just looking for football skills, but also a well-rounded individual. He may have found a winner in Knoxville-native Cody Blanc. Read as catches up with the people who know him best.

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee coaching staff have said they not only recruit football players, but also well-rounded individuals. If that is what they are looking for, they may have found it in Cody Blanc.

From the second Knoxville Central head coach Joe Hassell stepped onto campus he knew Blanc would ease his transition.

"Ultimately, when you are a new coach and you come into a situation you are looking for people, kids, who are going to be leaders," Hassell said. "People who want to implement the things that you want to be done. Especially on an academic and a character kind of level — there is no better than him."

Blanc, who reports a 3.6 core GPA, delivers not only on the field, but also in the classroom.

"He is the straw that stirs our drink," Hassell said. "He is high character, works hard in the classroom — he does anything you ask him to do and leads by his example."

Following Tennessee's offer to Blanc he immediately started to examine new academic possibilities, including early graduation.

Knoxville Central coach Joe Hassell conducts practice.
(Danny Parker/
"I was talking to one of our graduation coaches earlier," Blanc said. "I have to go up there and change my schedule. I am going to make my schedule to where if I want to graduate a bit early I can."

Blanc, who has amassed 1,993 yards and 20 touchdowns in two seasons, grew up in the shadow of Neyland Stadium.

"I probably don't live five minutes away," he said. "You get on the interstate and go straight to campus. I remember way back going to games with my mom and dad."

Hassell said that recruiting close to home can only be a positive for the Tennessee coaching staff.

"Ultimately, it is your home. When you put on the orange and the 'T' on your helmet that is your parents, your grandparents that have season tickets, buy hotdogs, it's you. You are fighting on that field for your community, your family and your home.

"Tennessee is home — he literally lives 20 minutes from the stadium. I would say when they shoot those fireworks off he can hear them from his backyard," said Hassell, who added that he believes Todd Helton was the last Central player to play for the Vols.

Blanc, who has attended many Tennessee football games, likely shares a found memory with many Tennessee fans.

"The year we beat Florida. We kicked a field goal, my mom, dad and I were at that game," he said.

Cody Blanc received his offer from Tennessee on Wednesday. He will likely visit both Vanderbilt and Tennessee over the next several days.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories