Blanc expecting a 'turnaround' at UT

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Looking to get a jumpstart on college life, Cody Blanc is moving into Gibbs Hall on the campus of the University of Tennessee this week.

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound athlete is one of seven prospects joining the roster for the Volunteers. The group should figure into helping competition throughout the roster.

"You've got guys that think they already have a secured spot, so they don't really work as hard," Blanc told InsideTennessee.com. "That was the case at my high school. You've got guys who think they've already got the job and they're not practicing as hard as they should or working out as hard as they need to be. So, if you get a little competition in there, you've got to make them work a little more, especially for the kids that are enrolling early.

"All of us have a chance by the time spring rolls around to get some significant time."

Blanc sat in the recruiting section at Neyland Stadium for nearly ever home game this past season, and he mentioned how that helped him finish his career at Central (Tenn.) High School in Knoxville productively.

"Watching the games on Saturdays and just the perspective that you're going to be out there playing next year instead of just watching it for entertainment purposes, it slowed things down a lot. I could read things and adjust a lot quicker," he said.

He had nothing but positive things to say about his in-home visit with Tennessee coach Derek Dooley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. Blanc also noted that he's gotten to know wide receivers coach Darin Hinshaw better.

Blanc said that Dooley told him "school is more important than football. Perform in the class well, keep my grades up and football is a perk along with that. Keep my head on right like I've been doing, learn how to balance my time school-wise, football-wise, hanging out with the boys, things like that."

After being recruited as a safety, Tennessee has let Blanc know that he will get a chance to contribute offensively in spring practice.

"I think I'm still going to go out at safety when we first get going, but coach Hinshaw is wanting to try me a little bit at receiver," Blanc said. "Coach Dooley said when he came over that I'm a great athlete and that's the hard part — figuring out where I fit best. I can play so many different positions. A lot of it depends on how I develop when we get over here, once we start working out."

He went on to say that he doesn't have a personal preference on what unit he joins. He just wants to get on the field and contribute.

Speaking of getting on the field, as a local resident that grew up surrounded by orange and white, Blanc has heartfelt aspirations of suiting up for the Big Orange, even if the next opportunity may only be a spring scrimmage like the Orange & White Game.

"Everything hasn't really hit me yet that I'm moving out going to be playing for Tennessee," he said. "Even in the spring, the first time you get on the field playing for the University of Tennessee, it's just going to be a moment I'll never forget. Then, the first home game we have when we run out through the 'T' moments like that are something you never forget."

Faithful piling into Neyland Stadium may be able to identify Blanc by the same number he wore during his prep days.

"I'm hoping to keep 36. I've been 36 ever since I was probably 5 years old and playing flag-football. Anthony Anderson was 36, and he graduated," Blanc said.

Another aspect of evolving from prospect to player is putting on a recruiter's hat when asked to educate potential future Vols when they take an official or unofficial visit to Rocky Top.

"You've just got to talk to them and tell them everything they need to hear," said Blanc, who originally committed to Tennessee back on July 22. "Really just sit them down, ask them questions, see what their concerns are and just assure them that Tennessee is the best place for them."

One player Blanc is working on is running back Mike Davis, who ranks in at No. 109 in the Scout300.

"When he came, he was shocked. I don't think he expected as much as what he saw. I think he really liked it, and I've been kind of talking to him a little bit."

Another highly-prized recruit that the Vols are a finalist for is four-star athlete Beniquez Brown. The Knoxville native is working on the standout from Florence, Ala., as well.

"All the people that I talked to on my official I'm trying to talk to them and do everything I can to get them to come," Blanc said.

Given that freshmen are typically not allowed to be interviewed by the media for at least their first year on campus, Blanc wanted to say this to the Tennessee fan base:

"I know a lot of people are second-guessing and giving coach Dooley a lot of criticism and things like that, I just want to tell them to stick it out. This upcoming season will be here in 6-7 months. Just ride it out. I don't want to sound too confident, but if we're not an eight-wins-plus team next year…with all the talent they have coming back with all the kids they have coming in, I think next year is going to be the first big turnaround in getting UT football back to nationally-ranked and winning a bunch more football games," he said.


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