On Sunday, Blanchard called Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen to inform them of his decision to de-commit with the Bulldogs during the early-signing period. Blanchard said he wanted more time to contemplate what he wants to do with his future.
Blanchard (6-foot-1, 180 lbs.) verbally committed to play baseball with the Bulldogs last July.
“It was a very tough decision, probably the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Blanchard said. “I just didn’t think it was the right fit for me. I talked it over with my family, and it just didn’t seem right. I’m just going to see what else I can get.
“I’m just going to wait it out. I’ve got some more time now to think about it. That’s all I needed was some more time to think about everything.”
As a shortstop last season with the Warrior baseball team, Blanchard batted .389 with five doubles, a home run and 19 RBIs last season. He also scored 17 runs and had eight stolen bases.
Blanchard spent part of last summer working out at several baseball camps, including one with Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves.
Blanchard’s decision re-opens the door for all other interested schools, not only in baseball, but football as well.
As quarterback of the top-ranked Warrior football team, Blanchard has guided Cherokee County to the playoffs for the second straight season, including last year’s Class 4A state runner-up. This year’s team is currently 11-0 and will host Fayette County (8-3) on Friday in the second round of the state playoffs.
Through 11 games this season, Blanchard has completed 136-of-193 passes for 2,040 yards and 26 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 805 yards on 95 carries with 14 more scores for the Warriors. He was recently selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in December.
Among Blanchard’s top choices now are playing baseball or football at the University of Alabama and a possible baseball/football scenario with Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks have already offered Blanchard a scholarship.
Blanchard’s father Fran was a standout wide receiver back in the early 1980s with the Gamecocks.
“I’ve been going to Jacksonville State my whole life, watching their games,” Blanchard said. “Dad has a lot of ties with them, and he’d love to see me go there, but he wants whatever’s best for me. He wants me to do what I want to do. He’s going to back me up wherever I want to go.”
Blanchard said he’s also received interest from Middle Tennessee State, Appalachian State and Virginia Tech over the past few weeks. He’s also had inquiries from Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Chattanooga, Troy and Samford over the past year.
Blanchard said newly-hired Alabama baseball coach Mitch Gaspard left him a voicemail on Tuesday to inquire about his baseball interest.
“I know I want to go to Alabama,” Blanchard said. “Alabama said they’d offer, but it would be later. I’m hoping they do, but if they don’t, I still have a great offer from Jacksonville State.”
Blanchard said making the decision to de-commit to Mississippi State has taken a lot of pressure off of him. He said his focus right now is helping the Warriors win a state championship.
“It’s a very fun process, but it’s very nerve-wracking,” Blanchard said of the recruiting process. “I didn’t expect it to be anything like this. I’m sure with people with even more offers, it’s worse. Just having a couple of offers, it’s hard thinking about what I want to do. I’ve never had to think about it because I’ve been at Cherokee County my whole life.”