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Austin Blaske: “Leading the Charge”

By Barry Every
SouthernPigskin.com
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Blaske currently has college scholarship offers from Air Force, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Columbia, Florida Atlantic, Furman, Liberty, Mercer, Navy and Samford.

“I feel I’m super aggressive using my height and weight to overpower people."
~Austin Blaske

There is no other way to paint it; Guyton (Ga.) South Effingham over the last three seasons has been anything but stellar on the gridiron. The Mustangs have gone (4-28) over that timeframe while finishing (2-10) in Region play.

In comes former Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County Offensive Coordinator Nathan Clark. He was named the Head Coach at South Effingham in the latter half of January and showed up on campus by the end of February. Clark definitely knows what it takes to turn things around after six seasons at Lee County. The Trojans were historically a doormat and now have won back-to-back State Championships.

Clark takes over the reins with the hopes of changing the culture at this downtrodden program. It all starts with building a successful youth and junior high football program which will eventually fuel success at the varsity level.

But the cupboard is not completely bare as Clark inherits 6-foot-5, 278-pound offensive tackle Austin Blaske. The three-sport star recently placed second at the GHSA-AAAAA State Wrestling Championships in the 285-pound weight class, finishing his season an impressive (50-18). He is currently projected to qualify for the State Track Championships in the shot put.

“So far I’ve been really impressed with his attitude and effort; he has lived up to the hype and really acted like a leader,” Clark said. “He gets onto the other kids and they listen, as well as buying into doing the things he has been asked to do. He’s into ball and that’s all he cares about. He wants to get stronger, is vocal, and hustles. I’ve been really impressed with him so far.”

Blaske currently has college scholarship offers from Air Force, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Columbia, Florida Atlantic, Furman, Liberty, Mercer, Navy and Samford. He is also receiving heavy interest from Duke, Memphis, UCF and Wake Forest.

“He’ll eventually be a really good football player; he’s long with a great frame to put more size on,” Clark said. “What really has impressed me is how fast he is for a big kid; he’s athletic enough to pull and I’ve been impressed with his mobility. I think he is a decent prospect that schools like Duke, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest should take a look at.”

Blaske was also very busy this fall checking out campuses, visiting South Carolina three times, Furman, twice and Mercer once for games. This spring he has already made trips to Duke, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

Last year his lone camp experience was to the Mega Mercer Camp. He plans on returning to Macon this year as well as making the trek to Athens in order to show off his skillset in front of the Bulldog coaching staff. At this time he feels he has heard from all the schools he is interested in playing for.

Back to his track and wrestling accolades; Blaske currently has a best of 48-foot-5 in the shot which currently ranks third in his classification. What makes his performance as a junior grappling on the mats is the fact that he took his sophomore season completely off and only tipped the scales at 180-pounds as a freshman.

Blaske currently has a 3.3 GPA and a 1070 on the SAT. He is scheduled to take the ACT on April, 13. He is currently taking AP History and plans on taking honors chemistry this fall. This should encourage colleges with higher academic standards to take a hard look at his gridiron acumen. His weight room numbers are not shabby either. Blaske boasts a 315-pound bench, 545-pound squat and a 300-pound power clean.

So what does Blaske do best and what does he have to improve upon to be a better high school football player?  Self-awareness can only improve his stock in the eyes of recruiters.

“I feel I’m super aggressive using my height and weight to overpower people,” Blaske said. “I do have to work on not letting my guy get the inside when pass blocking. Most importantly we have to listen to Coach Clark. He has done a great job of interacting with the players, especially the seniors. Senior leadership is the key to success.”

With 11 FBS/FCS offers on the table things are definitely looking up for Blaske on the recruiting front. He is currently ranked #38 in the latest version of the SouthernPigskin.com 2020 South Georgia Player Rankings and is rated a three-star offensive tackle by Rivals.com. But for him recruiting must take a backseat, helping his high school win games is more important.

“I need to be there to guide the team on the right path; it’s not all about offers,” Blaske said. “You need to think about the team first and not yourself and who is recruiting you. “The whole community has to pitch in and help us get people excited about football again.”

College coaches interested in evaluating this behemoth need to swing by South Effingham this spring.  The Mustangs will practicing May, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16 then finishing with an intrasquad game on May, 17 at 7:30pm. There they’ll see Blaske leading the charge for the upstart Mustangs.