Player Profile: Ja’Quain Blakely

Ja’Quain Blakely is a hybrid linebacker/defensive end combination that adds an explosive defensive player to Tennessee’s 2016 recruiting class.

Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. Courtesy of creative commons.org.

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Biography

Ja’Quain “Jay” Blakely is from Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia. Although he is listed (by most publications) as an outside linebacker, he can play defensive end. Blakely also sees the field on special teams. He already has nice size for an SEC linebacker and will likely bulk up even more during his college career.

Rankings

247Sports: No. 39 OLB and No. 553 overall player in the class of 2016

Rivals: No. 10 ILB in the class of 2016

ESPN: No. 56 OLB in the class of 2016

Offers

Blakely had a lengthy list of more than 20 offers that included Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Mississippi State out of the SEC. Some other notable offers were from Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and TCU. Blakely committed to Tennessee in early August and was active in recruiting other players to join him on Rocky Top.

Film Review

Blakely stands at around 6’2” and weighs in at 210 pounds. While his statistics might not jump off the page at first glance, what he does on the field is very impressive. Although he runs a 4.79 second 40-yard dash, his explosiveness around the edge of the offensive line is very impressive, and he continually pursues the ball until the whistle is blown. He plays mainly outside linebacker, but Blakely also has the skillset to line up on the ball as a defensive end, something Volunteer fans might compare to recent graduate Curt Maggitt. When he lines up at OLB, he explodes around the line and affects the quarterback nearly every time. His ability to get off blocks is highlighted when he lines up at DE.

The amount of upside Blakely possesses is very promising to fans of the Big Orange. Because he is coming in as a true freshman behind players like Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Darrin Kirkland Jr., and Derek Barnett, he might not see much playing time this season. However, once he builds up his frame and gets adjusted to college ball, he might be a very exciting player to watch by the end of his career in Knoxville.

Edited by Nathan Odom

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Matt is a sophomore journalism and electronic media major at the University of Tennessee. He enjoys watching any and all sports, and is an active member in the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. Follow him on twitter @mattraymond271