In a group full of tremendous athletes at Carroll Academy, quarterback Brennan Blaylock may be the best of the group.
Blaylock returns for his senior season with the Rebels after leading the team to a 6-5 record and the first round of the Class 4A playoffs, where they lost to Indianola.
Coach Bo Milton said Blaylock was kind of like the rest of the Carroll team last season, a bit on the inconsistent side.
“Brennan was kind of like our whole team I thought last year – a little inconsistent at times,” Milton said. “When Brennan really wanted to play, when he showed up and was playing to his capabilities those were probably the six games that we won, especially the Winston game. I think the Winston game last year showed the type of quarterback he has the potential to be.”
In that Winston game, Blaylcok had a 36-yard touchdown run, a 16-yard TD pass, a 10-yard TD pass, a 21-yard TD pass. Blaylock had 85 yards rushing on 13 carries while going 11-of-19 passing for 170 yards with three TDs.
That win gave Milton his first win over a former school and also showed the veteran coach what his signal caller was capable of.
Now, Milton sees Blaylock, who is 6-foot and 200 pounds as the leader of his offense.
“I think he has made a concentrated effort in the offseason and the spring to being that guy,” Milton said. “He’s a three-year starter. He played some meaningful snaps as a ninth grader when we were on that run. This is a guy that we are going to have to lean hard and heavy on so I think he could be as good as anybody in 4A.”
Blaylock is also starting to accept his role as a team leader.
“I’m trying to be a leader toward these younger guys that are linemen because last year the line did not exceed what we wanted,” Blaylock said. “We’re really trying to motivate and get this to where we can have a better run than last year. Last year was not as exciting as the year before when we went to state, but I mean we saw some upside with us as a junior class and I feel that now that we are seniors and now that we have been in the weight room a lot more, I really feel like it’s going to be different this year.”
Blaylock finished the 2021 season with 817 yards passing and 260 yards rushing. He also had 25 tackles and an interception on defense.
As a former offensive lineman, Milton like to run the football and has had some of the state’s best rushing teams in the last three years. But Blaylock showed he was capable of getting yards through the air, especially with wideout Noah Beck, who had 530 and seven TDs.
“I’ve shown him that other quarterbacks I’ve had if we can throw the ball, I’ll throw the ball,” Milton said. “I’m with that, but, of course, if you’re getting eight yards a pop running in it, then no, there’s no point in it. You’ve got to be balanced as we move up and we’re a 4A and we’re playing 4A and 5A teams you’ve got to have a balance. You can’t just be run, run, run, run all the time and I think we’ve done that this spring. We’ve worked on our blocking to help him.”
Milton said he saw Blaylock take some big steps this spring and hopes that continued through the summer and the upcoming season.
“We’ve done some things to help him see the bigger picture and I thought I saw just huge steps during spring practice, and I see huge steps working 7-on-7 right now where I think we can create that balance this year,” Milton said. “I think he feels a little calmer back there.
I think he trusts that I can move and throw the ball and I can move and run the ball. I saw some things in the spring game where he did that and we did some drills in the spring where we run dummies at him and throw dummies at him and he’s got to move his feet and keep his eyes down field and make the receivers. I just thought a lot of things we did in the spring helped him take another step.”
On defense, Milton said Blaylock has to be on the field.