The following scouting report on Plano (Texas) East offensive lineman Justin Blalock was compiled following East's first game of the year against Garland, Texas, a game which was played on August 31, 2001.
When scouting an offensive line prospect, college coaches look for a number of key attributes. But the five key areas are: run blocking, pass blocking, pop & explosion, quick recovery and foot quickness.
Being superior in a single area doesn't necessarily make an offensive lineman a Division I prospect. However, if the player has more than one of the cherished traits, it certainly gives them a better likelihood of becoming a Division I player.
And Blalock scores quite well in all areas - proving why he's one of the nation's top offensive linemen. In fact, after further review, he might just be the nation's top offensive guard (with all due respect to Brandon Jeffries). Blalock lists Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan as his top teams.
Run block: If there is a better run blocker in the nation, then he must belong in the NFL right now. Blalock simply gets after it on every play. He is able to destroy the defender in front of him and does the little things that most good linemen don't do yet - he makes it up to the next level. That's something that is rarely seen in a high school prospect. Most players are satisfied with getting the pancake block, but not Blalock. He crushes one guy and then moves to another.
Pass block: East doesn't put the ball up in the air too often, but when they do, they always seem to make sure that the quarterback is lined up behind Blalock. While he isn't as aggressive on pass blocking as he is with run blocking, he's able to get his hands into pass pro quickly. He does tend to lean on the defender a little too much and doesn't always keep solid pass pro technique, but overall he scores well here and is an adept pass blocker.
Pop & explosion: This is where Blalock is able to use his huge body and frame to his finest. He uses his massive legs and upper body to lay a lick on the defender across him on every play. And when he pops you - he definitely has plenty of explosion. This could be seen in the game against Garland. Two different defenders had to be carted off the field because Blalock laid the smack down on them. Simply put, there isn't a better guard in the nation when it comes to explosion and pop.
Quick recovery: This is the one area that Blalock could use some improvement on. With his size and frame, it's hard for him to recover and handle some quicker opponents. He have to chip block on a couple of pass plays and a quicker defensive end was able to beat him to the spot and force the quarterback to change his setup in the pocket. However, when it comes to other areas, Blalock definitely recovers well. For example, if he does somehow get to the ground, he shows his agility and ability by getting up off the ground rather quickly and finding somebody else to block.
Foot quickness: The reports of Blalock being slow-footed are quite overblown. Blalock showed on numerous occasions that he's more than able to pull successfully and be effective on trap plays. Like mentioned earlier, he did struggle a little bit when having to chip block a rapidly-approaching defensive end, but there aren't many blockers that are better when pulling and leading the way for the quarterback or running back.
Final grade: 40 out of 50.
Final comments: Guys like Blalock are a rare breed. Rarely will you find guys that have the total package like Blalock - size, aggressiveness, technique and the other good stuff. Blalock has them all, plus he's a student of the game and takes things on and off the field seriously. He'll be one of the highlight of any team's recruiting class.