by Jeff Barlis
Travis Blanks loves to compete. How else could you explain one of the nation’s finest safeties (who has a ton of offers) taking part in not one but two Nike Football Training Camps in one weekend?
“The competition level, man,” said Blanks, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Tallahassee, Fla., North Florida Christian. “I just came from Nike camp in Georgia and the intensity level and the competition wasn’t as high, but here man, it’s Florida. You’ve got guys coming from south Florida, central Florida, north Florida. It’s a lot of competition out here. This is a group of pretty good guys.”
One of those guys is Marcus Maye, a similarly sized safety. Maye is 6-1, 180 from Melbourne, Fla., Holy Trinity. The two stuck together throughout Sunday’s Nike camp in Tallahassee.
“Marcus is one of my good friends,” Blanks said. “We played against each other our freshman year and we’ve been cool ever since. We’re very similar in our game. We can relate to each other on a lot of stuff.”
Some of that stuff is being recruited by major Division-I programs. Blanks says he would love to line up at cornerback next to Maye at safety in college, but the greater likelihood is that both will be recruited as safeties and therefore end up at different schools.
Blanks, who took home MVP honors among the Tallahassee camp’s defensive backs, is hard to read when it comes to picking his top schools.
“I don’t really have a leader right now,” Blanks said. “A bunch of good schools are recruiting me. I don’t think there will ever be a point in the process where I’ll have a clear leader, because the schools are just too good. So I’m just analyzing all of my options. Maybe I’ll narrow it down towards the end of the summer to a top five.”
Blanks plans to graduate early and enroll early, so he’ll have to pick a college by early January. Some think the favorites to land Blanks’ services are Alabama, Florida State and Florida, perhaps because of proximity.
“All those are schools I am considering, all those will probably be in my top 10,” Blanks said, “but a lot of schools like Auburn, Georgia, Clemson are also in there with that group, too. But as far as FSU being the leader or Florida being the leader? No, that’s not the case.”
At this time it doesn’t seem like Florida is high on Blanks’ list. He said the coaching staff has tried to get him on the phone with coach Will Muschamp, but Blanks has been too busy. He did say he would like to visit over the summer, so UF is not out of the running.
Maye is a more likely future Gator. He grew up a Florida fan in Melbourne, a town that produced a couple of Gators — Maye’s cousin, Joe Cohen, and family friend Reggie Nelson. His handful of visits to Gainesville, most recently for the Orange and Blue spring game, have made a very positive impression on Maye, his mother and mentor Tracy Biggs.
“Florida is his No. 1 right now,” said Biggs, assistant football coach at Holy Trinity. “His family really loves Florida, mom loves Florida. … Florida, Alabama, Florida State are the top three. He’s going to make a decision before signing day, some time between the end of the summer and the middle of football season.”