Jamie Blatnick: Best defensive end during Mike Gundy era?
My piece in Friday’s paper is about the connection between Jamie Blatnick and Caleb Lavey, who both come from the tiny town of Celina, Texas that is home to one of the state’s biggest football powerhouses.
I enjoyed hearing stories about Blatnick’s and Lavey’s childhoods from both players and their high school coach, Butch Ford. And you could hear in Ford’s voice just how excited the folks of Celina are about two of their favorite sons starting for the No. 3 college football team in the nation and contributing at a high level.
What that story did not allow me to do, however, was really zero in on the season Blatnick is having.
Blatnick is tied for third in the Big 12 with six sacks and ranks fourth in the conference with 8.5 tackles for loss. He also has an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three pass break-ups—and all of those have come over the Cowboys’ last three games.
Mike Gundy said Monday that Blatnick is “very worthy of strong consideration” for the All-Big 12 team and called him the most consistent defensive end at OSU since Antonio Smith.
During Smith’s senior season in 2003, he had 29 tackles and five sacks. Blatnick has already passed Smith in both of those categories with five games to play.
And since Smith played under Les Miles, that means Gundy indirectly called Blatnick the best defensive end he’s ever had as a head coach.
Blatnick has obviously had his ups and downs on and off the field at OSU, but he is playing the best football of his career right now.
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