Outlook is very promising for former Mount Tabor standout Blair at S.C. State

Outlook is very promising for former Mount Tabor standout Blair at S.C. State
August 06
00:00 2015

In above photo: In his only high school season in which he played defense, Blair (18 in red) recorded 16 stacks. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

Jementre’ Blair’s stellar senior season at Mount Tabor proved that being a defensive lineman is his true calling.

Because of team needs, Blair played on the offensive line in his first three years, and was a two-time All-Central Piedmont Conference pick at offensive tackle.

Entering his senior season, Blair, 6-feet-2, 230 pounds, was given the chance to play defensive end, and he flourished.

He was an all-league pick who finished with 16 sacks and 87 tackles, which included 23 stops for lost yardage.

“When I got the green light to play defense, I was so excited,” said Blair. “For me, it’s more fun because I don’t feel like I have to hold anything back. I was able to take advantage of the opportunity and show what I could do.”

As a defensive lineman, Blair benefited from his experience playing on the other side of the ball.

He figured out how to take full advantage of his speed and quickness.

“I felt like I had an advantage (on defense),” said Blair, who signed with South Carolina State earlier this year. “For me, instincts are key. I’m usually in the right place at the right time. I can read the opposing lineman’s footwork and use that to help me win those one-on-one match-ups.”

When Blair started out in high school, he weighed 260 pounds.

But over the last three years, he shed 30 pounds, which greatly enhanced his foot-speed (runs 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and lateral quickness.

During that time, he played a lot of pick-up basketball, which he credits with aiding his agility and footwork.

Yet, there’s more to Blair’s game than speed and quickness.

His weight room numbers are far from shabby.

Here are some of his max totals: bench press, 365 pounds; squat lift, 520 pounds; power and clean, 315 pounds.

The combination of speed, quickness and strength make him a top-flight college prospect.

At 230 pounds, Blair isn’t the biggest of defensive linemen at the college level.

So, it comes as no surprise that he’ll probably end up playing outside linebacker, which will showcase his physical tools as a dominant pass rusher who’s also fast enough to provide solo pass coverage on tight ends and running backs.

Blair’s college career at South Carolina State will get a delayed start.

In the fourth quarter of the East-West All-Star Football Game played three weeks ago, he dislocated his right shoulder and had surgery two days later.

With the injury, Blair will be sidelined for three months.

As a result, he’ll sit out this season in order to be fully healed and ready to go for 2016.

Blair confessed that it will feel strange to have to sit and watch as he recuperates.

“This will be the first time in about 10 years that I won’t be taking part in a pre-season practice,” said Blair, who will double major in Business Administration and Computer Science. “I’ll be OK. When next season comes around, I’ll be good to go.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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