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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Middle Tennessee
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  It's hard to imagine a year much more trying than what Reed Blankenship has gone through. Middle Tennessee's star senior safety suffered a gruesome broken leg in the team's seventh game of the 2019 season against North Texas. Then, after having surgery and rehabbing, the COVID-19 pandemic threw multiple wrenches into his preparation for the 2020 campaign. Now, he's gearing up for a rematch with North Texas almost a year to the day after the injury. To say the matchup is bringing about added emotions is almost an understatement. "I think I have something to prove, especially after coming back from that," Blankenship said. "It's pretty special to me, so I'm just trying to grind as much as I can this week so I'm ready."

Blankenship was having a banner junior season until the injury. In seven games, he recorded 58 tackles, two interceptions, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble, as well as two blocked kicks. Even without playing the last five games, he still did enough to earn All-Conference-USA Second Team honors, the third year in a row he was named all-conference, adding to an honorable mention nod as a freshman and first team as a sophomore. He was drawing the interest of NFL scouts from around the league until the injury, which was bad enough that a weaker man might've hung up his cleats. - Middle Tennessee Football


(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
News Source: Middle Tennessee Football
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  Asher O'Hara accounted for four touchdowns, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jarrin Pierce with 1:20 remaining, to lift Middle Tennessee over Florida International 31-28 on Saturday night in a Conference USA opener. Gregory Grate Jr. intercepted a Kaylan Wiggins pass with about a minute left to seal it for Middle Tennessee (1-4, 1-2). O'Hara's go-ahead score capped an eight-play, 59-yard drive. O'Hara finished 23-of-42 passing for 268 yards. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to CJ Windham, and ran for 106 yards including scoring runs from the 1 and 4. Shaun Peterson Jr. ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns for FIU (0-2, 0-1). His 63-yard touchdown run tied the game at 14 midway through the second quarter. D'vonte Price scored on a 65-yard run to give the Panthers a 28-24 lead at the end of the third. Price finished with 112 yards rushing. Seating was limited to 20% capacity at 33,199-seat Riccardo Silva Stadium. Face masks and social distancing measures were required. Tailgating was prohibited. - AP College Football

(DS#24 QB) rJr/2022 QB Asher OHaraMiddle Tennessee
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  Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill announced Thursday the permanent captains for the Blue Raiders in 2020. Safety Reed Blankenship, defensive tackle Jordan Ferguson, wide receiver Jarrin Pierce and linebacker DQ Thomas, were honored as the 15th group of permanent captains in the FBS era at Middle Tennessee. The team voted on the four captains, and Coach Stockstill made the announcement during a team meeting this week. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
News Source: Middle Tennessee Football
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  Jarrin Pierce has been the one bright spot on an offense that has struggled. Becoming O'Hara's safety blanket for any passes downfield, Pierce ranks 17th in the country in receiving yards with 221 on 22 catches. Against Troy, Pierce hauled in a career-high 11 receptions for 81 yards. He followed that up with seven receptions for 107 yards against UTSA. - Daily News Journal

(DS#142 WR) rSr/2021 WR Jarrin PierceMiddle Tennessee
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  Asher O'Hara had his worst game at MTSU against Army, going 9-of-14 for 46 yards and two interceptions. Chase Cunningham was inserted into the game in the second half. A similar situation happened last season against North Texas when O'Hara was struggling. Cunningham nearly led the Blue Raiders back from a double-digit deficit. Cunningham finished 7-of-10 for 63 yards against Army with the offense flowing better under him. Should O'Hara struggle against Troy, Stockstill has shown that he's not afraid to give Cunningham a shot. - Daily News Journal

(DS#24 QB) rJr/2022 QB Asher OHaraMiddle Tennessee
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  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Reed Blankenship, Middle Tennessee,...Inclusion on the list is just the latest for Blankenship, who this preseason has also been named to the watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award and to Bruce Feldman's "Freak" list. The safety from Athens, Alabama was named to the All-Conference-USA Second Team in 2019, the First Team in 2018 and Honorable Mention in 2017, as well as the C-USA All-Freshman Team. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Robert Jones, Middle Tennessee,...Jones was named an Honorable Mention All-C-USA in 2019, his first season at Middle Tennessee after transferring from Highland Community College (KS). The Chicago native played in all 12 games with 11 starts last season and was named the team's offensive player of the week twice. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#24 OG) Sr/2021 OG Robert JonesMiddle Tennessee
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  In his four seasons at MT, Shafer has made it a point to bring in defensive backs who can alternate between every position, from safety to corner and even nickel corner. That might be even more important this year with uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and players coming in and out of the lineup. "I feel like we're going to be more than two deep at every position," redshirt sophomore Decorian Patterson said. "We feel really good about it." The Blue Raiders will have a talented group of safeties led by Preseason All-Conference USA member Reed Blankenship and fellow senior Kylan Stribling.

Both are coming off injuries, but, when in the lineup, will be one of the most talented safety duos in the league. Blankenship owns 233 career tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 18 pass breakups, eight interceptions and two blocked kicks. He's been on the All-C-USA First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention in his career, as well as the All-Freshman Team in 2017. He missed the last five games of 2019 with an injury. "When you have a special player like Reed coming back, it's always great to have him playing alongside you," Stribling said. "It's great to have another smart player out there to check adjustments and stuff." - Middle Tennessee Football


(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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  2020 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM (COACHES): DB Reed Blankenship, Sr., Middle Tennessee,...Blankenship earned second team all-conference recognition last year despite missing the final five games of the season with an injury. Blankenship, who ranked tied for first nationally in blocked kicks with two, was fourth on the team in tackles with 58 to go with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. A team captain in 2019, Blankenship owns 233 career tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 18 pass breakups, eight interceptions and two blocked kicks. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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  2020 PRESEASON RAY GUY AWARD WATCH LIST: Kyle Ulbrich, Middle Tennessee,...Ulbrich played in all 12 games in 2019...Ended the season with 46 punts for a 41.4 average, while having seven go for 50 or more yards and nine being downed inside the 20-yard line. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#999 P) rJr/2022 P Kyle UlbrichMiddle Tennessee
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  2020 WUERFFEL TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Asher O'Hara, Middle Tennessee State, junior, quarterback,...O'Hara ended his first year as a starter with 2,616 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, while also adding a team-best 1,058 rushing yards and nine scores. He became just the second quarterback in school history to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark. O'Hara also became the first Blue Raider signal-caller to pass for 300 yards in a game while also topping 100 yards rushing. He accomplished the feat with 367 passing yards and 103 rushing yards in a win over TSU. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#24 QB) rJr/2022 QB Asher OHaraMiddle Tennessee
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  2020 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: DB Reed Blakenship, Middle Tennessee,...A team captain in 2019, Blankenship owns 233 career tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 18 pass breakups, eight interceptions and two blocked kicks. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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  2020 PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Reed Blankenship, Middle Tennessee, Sr.,...Blankenship earned second team all-conference recognition last year despite missing the final five games of the season with an injury. Blankenship, who ranked tied for first nationally in blocked kicks with two, was fourth on the team in tackles with 58 to go with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. A team captain in 2019, Blankenship owns 233 career tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 18 pass breakups, eight interceptions and two blocked kicks. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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  2020 PRESEASON BEDNARIK AWARD WATCH LIST: S Reed Blankenship, Middle Tennessee,...Blankenship earned second team all-conference recognition last year despite missing the final five games of the season with an injury. Blankenship, who ranked tied for first nationally in blocked kicks with two, was fourth on the team in tackles with 58 to go with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. - Middle Tennessee Football

(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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  Perennial all-conference performer Reed Blankenship was well on his way to another All-Conference USA First Team selection before suffering a broken leg against North Texas in the team's seventh game, costing him the remaining five contests. Then, after filling in admirably for Blankenship for the last five games, Kylan Stribling was forced to undergo knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason. The seniors are slated to start alongside each other in 2020 - Stribling will likely fill the void at strong safety left by all-time great Jovante Moffatt - and while this offseason has been strange because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both have rehabbed well.

"I am 100 percent confident that I am as good as new," Blankenship said in a recent feature on goblueraiders.com. "As far as where I am, I guess that will be determined when I get back on the field in a game situation." Blankenship and Stribling might get the starting nods when the Blue Raiders take the field against Duke for the season opener Sept. 5, but expect to see more names from the group on the field. - Daily News Journal


(DS#14 SS) Sr/2021 SS Reed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee
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