An injured upper vertebrae may have put Westlake (Calif.) quarterback Dax Blinn out of action for most of his junior year, but his road to recovery includes unofficial visits to Pac-12 schools and an appearance at The Opening.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Blinn, who played sparingly last season for the 7-4 Warriors, has still managed to introduce himself to college coaches on recruiting trips, plus get an invite to The Opening Regional at El Sobrante (Calif.) De Anza on May 22.
“It’s an honor to be out here with the top guys in the area,” Blinn said of The Opening. “This creates a good scenario where I can showcase my skills and play with those guys who are good.”
The 2017 prospect injured his vertebrae in the summer of 2015, from what he called “overworking" himself.
Said Blinn: “By the time I came back in, we were already halfway into the season and I would only go in toward the end of the games because the senior [Grant Buckner] was already the established starter.”
Because of that setback, the son of former UCLA tight end Stephen Blinn doesn’t have too many highlight reel plays on varsity, as his film shows his skills at the junior varsity level.
However, Blinn does have two accolades on his resume: he got an invite to play in the Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl in San Antonio back in 2013 as an eighth grader, plus won the Most Valuable Player award for his age group at the Football University Top Gun camp held in Williamsburg, Va., in that same year.
On the field, Blinn shows a knack for locating and exploiting one-on-one coverage, and he’s slippery against pass rushers, as he doesn’t hesitate to take off down the field and move the chains while under duress.
“I like to be a leader on the field, from the aspect of the team to also leading off the field," Blinn said. "During games, I feel like I’m a balanced quarterback. I’ll stay in the pocket and throw, but when I need to get out, I get out and throw to someone. I like to be balanced and well-rounded,” Blinn said.
At The Opening, Blinn competed in a deep quarterback pool that featured highly recruited Jack Sears (21 reported scholarship offers), Washington State commit Connor Neville and Alabama commit Tua Tagovailoa.
Before his weekend stay in the Bay, Blinn took in the sights and sounds of Stanford, California, Arizona and Arizona State earlier in the spring, and had high praise for the Grand Canyon State universities.
“They were really great visits at ASU and U of A,” Blinn said. “They were great schools and I loved the facilities. It’s cool to see the level of change from high school to college.”
He’s not only continuing his path to recovery, but is also preparing to handle the reins and expectations at Westlake, a traditional powerhouse in the Conejo Valley that recently produced Oregon wide receiver commit Theo Howard, former USC walk-on linebacker Luke Freeman and ex-TCU linebacker Christopher Cisi.
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“We have a pretty high tradition of relevancy right now. We ushered in a new coach recently in Tony Henney and it’s really great to see a new tradition step in,” Blinn said. “With Henney coming in and him being a coach with a good background, it’s going really well to transition with him. We’re all getting along really well together. Our team is looking really great. I’m really excited for this year.”