- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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Each week this spring, RecruitingNation will take a closer look at some of the nation’s top Class of 2014 prospects from the ESPN Watch List. This week we kick things off with Charlotte (N.C.) Christian tight end Jeb Blazevich.
Few people -- well, other than astute recruiters -- knew who Jeb Blazevich was last summer.
Then the offers started pouring in.
Blazevich was a self-described average receiver before he started eating -- a lot. The tight end from Charlotte (N.C.) Christian went from peanut butter sandwiches to hamburgers then chicken strips to bulk up to 240 pounds. And the hamburgers were for breakfast, while the chicken strips were an in-class snack.
It clearly worked, as Blazevich is now considered one of the top tight end prospects in the nation and is being recruited by some of the country’s top programs. Blazevich recently listed Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame and Ole Miss as his finalists.
"It's really crazy," Blazevich said of his recruitment. "When you think about it, I'm just a normal kid. I go to church on Sundays. I go to school during the week. I do my work like anybody else. It's just crazy to have these accolades.
"It really humbles you to realize that, wow, God gave me this ability. He could have given this to anybody. It's a really humbling experience. I'm very grateful for it but it is a little bit crazy."
Blazevich is likely a better prospect than he was as a rising junior last year when he was receiving all of these scholarship offers. He's lost some of the fat he picked up when he decided to bulk up. Once too small, a bigger Blazevich is now determined to be big and lean.
"I'm eating a regular diet," he said. "I took about a 20 pounds off. Now, the theory is lighter and faster. I'm just trying to get stronger and keep a healthy diet and maintain more of slow weight gain."
When asked what drives him to such dedication, Blazevich said: "I'm my biggest critic. I keep reminding myself that I need to keep working to get where I need to go."
Blazevich's recruitment shouldn't last much longer. He said he’ll announce his decision by June 1, if not earlier. He said he's determined to get to know his chosen school and its coaches after the recruiting salesmanship has worn off. For now, publicly at least, he's not offering any hints.
"I feel like I can be successful there and that's where God is calling me to go," he said about the schools he is considering.
Until he announces, Blazevich knows he'll have to continue to field calls from recruiters hoping to sway him and reporters looking to get new information from him. Like his weight, he seems to have recruiting under control as well.
"It's been really crazy," he said. "I'm very thankful for it but it's one of those things that you have to manage well. It can consume you. You have to stay humble. It's definitely a great experience, but it's challenging too."