DALLAS — Richardson (Texas) Pearce High’s football team recently wrapped up a season mired by unfavorable results, considering the Mustangs dropped seven of their last eight outings and limped to a 3-7 finish.
Still, all wasn’t lost for Pearce running back Otis Blanton, who was as good as advertised for a player who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate level.
A speedy 5-foot-7, 160-pound athlete, Blanton enjoyed a pivotal junior season in which he finished the campaign as Pearce’s leading rusher.
In making a career-best nine starts, Blanton demonstrated time and again that he possesses the mechanics to put his football smarts on display at the next level, having compiled 655 yards on a team-high 144 carries while producing six touchdowns.
Add to the fact that his 4.5 yards per carry were second only to teammate Hank Hughes, and it’s no wonder he had drawn rave reviews from Mustang coach Randy Robertson and his staff.
By and large, it was because of his assertiveness and keen desire to progress since spring and summer drills that Blanton had gone to great lengths to ensure this would be the season he generates the attention of college scouts and recruiters.
According to Blanton, who also spent time at the cornerback position, he garnered interest from Baylor, North Texas, and Texas Tech, a list he hopes will expand in the foreseeable future.
“The reason I love football is because I love to compete with other people,” Blanton told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “And I love the game and it keeps me out of trouble.”
A crafty, efficient student athlete who has assumed the businesslike approach both on and off the field, Blanton acknowledges amongst his chief ambitions as he prepares for offseason workouts and summer 7-on-7 camps is to do whatever is necessary to ensure Pearce atones for its lethargic 2015 showing.
A team that will return the nucleus of its starters, the future for Blanton and Co. certainly appears bright.
“I am very happy that he decided to stick with football, because there were other sports in mind, but we talked about (football) and he has stayed with it,” said Vincent Abron, Blanton’s father. “His coaches have been very helpful, especially his position. I will say that he has helped Otis come a long way along with the (Robertson).”
Besides his coaches entrusting him to assume the bulk of the reps in what appeared to be a progressing rushing attack this season, Blanton relishes the fact that his family exemplified solid support during what was a pivotal junior season.
“My dad and my big sister and my niece are my biggest fans,” Blanton said. “They have been to all of my games.”
As for the life lessons his coaches and family routinely offer, Blanton said such inspiration undoubtedly has made a world of difference in a year in which he was as good as advertised.
So much for a losing record.
“They always tell me to work hard and stay focused and stay out of trouble,” Blanton said. “(With football), I’ve got to keep my family close.”
A trend at least three colleges have already taken into account.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.