November 13, 2009
Baseball commit opens things back up as QB
Last season Cherokee County High School followed up an undefeated regular season with a loss in the state championship game to UMS-Wright in Alabama's 4A classification. One of the primary reasons for that success was the play of quarterback Coty Blanchard. His return as a senior along with several other key pieces has seen Cherokee County storm into the playoffs once again as one of the state's best.
This season to date, Blanchard has thrown for over 2,600 yards, rushed for over 600 yards and found the end zone through the air 25 times with only two interceptions. As good as Blanchard was in 2008, he's been better in 2009.
"It's been great," Blanchard said of the season. "It's been a great experience. Last year we went to the state finals and got beat and we've just worked hard to get back. This year from last year, I'm faster. I got in the weight room trying to get stronger, and it's helped me out too rolling around in the pocket and delivering with throws."
With the athleticism that Blanchard has shown, it's no surprise that he doesn't limit him self to just one sport. He stars on the baseball diamond as well and up until recently, Blanchard was committed to play baseball at Mississippi State. However, when it became time to sign a letter of intent to play baseball, Blanchard had second thoughts about leaving the sport of football behind.
"They wanted me to commit yesterday and I just needed more time because I didn't know if I just wanted to play baseball so I just needed more time to think about it," he said. "Right now I want to play football but I say the same thing during baseball season so I'm kind of an in-season guy so whatever season is going on, I think I want to play."
Schools that have shown interest in football include Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Middle Tennessee State. The communication has been steady but most schools have talked about an offer coming in late in the process and even discussed the potential of playing positions other than quarterback. Blanchard has an interest in possibly playing both sports, depending on his position.
"I know I'd definitely like to (play both baseball and football) but if it's me, if I went to college as a quarterback I know I wouldn't be able to do both. If I went as a safety maybe I could do it."
Perhaps the only thing that Blanchard has working against him is his limited height at only around 6-foot-1. But he has shown in offseason camp settings and two seasons under center that he is more than capable to compensate with a big arm, pin-point accuracy and the athleticism to improvise. With his talent and leadership and the players around him, Cherokee County will make a strong case for another state championship appearance.
"This group of seniors, I'm very blessed to play with this bunch of guys," he said. "They've just raised it to another level. With that experience last year, they know what they need to do to win it all."
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