MIDDLEBURG – This past season Garrett Blanchett took over as the starting quarterback at Middleburg and he says he had to grow up quickly. Blanchett did just that for the Broncos.
“Last year, I had to grow up a lot as a quarterback mentally,” Blanchett told Prep Sports Scouting. “If I throw a pick, I just have to bounce back after the next play and just keep going. I learned that and got a lot better mentally than anything else.”
The 6’1″, 205 lbs. has already added 10 lbs. of muscle this off-season. He’s aiming to reach the 215-pound mark by the start of the season.
Blanchett started the final three games of the Broncos 0-10 season two years ago. He earned trust in the coaching staff and guided Middleburg to a 3-1 record in Class 6A- District 4 last season. His group went 4-6 and appeared in the region semifinal last November before losing to Crestview 35-0.
“It was a great experience coming from what we were a year ago,” Blanchett said. “We put so much work into the weight room. The games we lost were because of little things that we didn’t do. It was a great time with guys that haven’t won in their high school careers.”
Starting his varsity career at Clay, Blanchett broke his back in two places as a freshman. He says he never thought of ending football instead had the mindset of getting back into the weight room as quickly as possible.
At age 8, Blanchett began his football life as an offensive lineman and tight end. It wasn’t until the 7th grade that he lined up under center, something he called nerve-racking at first.
He moves out of the pocket with ease and trusts his receivers to make a play. That is noticeable when you watch Blanchett for the first time.
At Middleburg, coach Karl Smeltzer has been in charge the past four seasons after serving as the defensive coordinator prior to that. Smeltzer is a 1985 Broncos graduate and has been coaching for over 20 years at the high school level.
Blanchett called it great playing for Smeltzer.
“He’s the nicest guy you could ever meet and he loves to win,” Blanchett said. “He puts you in the best situations you can ask for. I love playing for coach Smeltzer.”
In terms of his biggest strengths, Blanchett pointed to his leadership, unselfishness and ability to get out of the pocket and throw. He’s aiming to trust his offensive a little more this season.
The summer before his junior season, he started training with DeBartolo Sports quarterback instructor Ryan Walker. The two have a close relationship on and off the field.
“He [Walker] texts me almost every other day telling me he has things planned for me,” Blanchett said. “I train with him basically every other week.”
Blanchett said his footwork, wrist flow and ability to spin the ball has improved plenty due to Walker’s training sessions. He also said Walker made it easier to figure out defense schemes.
“He [Walker] gets guys to the next level,” he said. “I know he has four guys some that went to Alabama and Miami. He’s a great coach and he can get you there if you work with him.”
No offers have come for Blanchett yet, but he’s talked with a few college programs after practices. Nothing is serious interest as of now though.
He called his dad his biggest role model.
“He’s always encouraged me to be in the weight room and keep my grades up,” Blanchett said. “He’s always just been there.”
Blanchett’s goals are simple.
“I just want to get to the next level. I want to get to college and graduate,” he said. “Hopefully move up from there, but graduate and use my degree.”
He wants to study to be a nurse in college.
Blanchett is a smart kid. He is humble and knows that none of this is easy. He wants to put in the work and right now we are seeing him do just that. With a year under his belt as a varsity starter, Blanchett is gaining confidence at the right time. The offers will come as his play and poise increase.
Favorite players to watch – Panthers QB Cam Newton
Playlist before games – Eminem
Favorite movies – Remember The Titans
Favorite TV shows – ESPN
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “The Cannon”
Game film: Blanchett’s Hudl tape
Photo credit: Clay Today
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.