There are plenty of reasons for optimism on Blaze Drive these days.
The pieces are in place for Blackman to be a talented football team in 2013 — one that may be talented enough to compete for a District 7-AAA title.
“We’ve got a lot of kids that have worked extremely hard,” said Blackman coach Philip Shadowens, whose team finished 8-4 in 2012.”When you have that, that helps build confidence. I think they understand we have a lot of talented players at multiple positions.”
Jauan Jennings highlights the Blaze offense as the team’s quarterback. Jennings, who also will play free safety, gives the Blaze a quarterback that can scramble and create on the run. It’s something the Blaze haven’t had since Shadowens’ first season in 2009.
Running back Cole Notgrass (1,024 rushing yards) leads the ground game with three-year starter Antonio Allen (344 yards) at fullback. Charlie Davidson (169 yards) and Chris Anderson (126 yards) will also figure in the backfield rotation with Notgrass. Chase Murphy, who will also play defense, will back up Allen.
Speedster Styles Corder caught 11 balls for 217 yards a year ago and is the veteran among the receivers. Ronnie Killings and Quin Hardy have also shown plenty of potential.
Tyler Sells and Debo Henry also will be in the rotation alongside Marqua Gant, Jaylen Miller and Cori Richards.
Jevon Shanklin anchors down the tight end with Brandon Armstrong. Jevon Brown and Austin Mosier provide depth at the position.
The Blaze offensive line returns three players with experience up front on the line. Caleb Lafleur, Caleb Singleton and Chris Finotti have experience. Jimmy Schwager and Micah Cale also will see time up front.
Blackman’s secondary has potential to be one of the best in Tennessee. Jennings is the No. 12 safety in the Class of 2015 according to ESPN.
Jennings will start at free safety, but will split time with Killings due to his quarterback duties. Hardy and Sells will share time at weak safety. Miller and Corder gives the Blaze two quick corners. Murphy, Miller Armstrong and Notgrass will share time at strong safety.
Allen and Mosier will be at linebacker. The defensive line will likely consist of Brandon Armstrong, Conner Krenk, Finotti and Shanklin.
Blaine Burks will be the kicker and Luke Drew will be the punter.