Expect Austin Blythe to show some emotion at the state wrestling tournament last weekend.
Kid loves wrestling. Barring any tremendous upset in districts this weekend, Blythe will be wrestling for his third state title and fourth-spot in the state heavyweight finals at Wells Fargo next weekend.
The sport is in his bones, but when he signed on the dotted line to play O-line at Iowa, he pretty much knew that his wrestling days are numbered. There hasn't been a lot of crossover between football and wrestling in recent years, with walk-on fullback Jordan McLaughlin being perhaps the only example.
“I might be able to be good or decent in both,” he said, “but I don’t think I could be great in one if I did both.
“I chose football because I love everything that goes along with football. I love the preparation and everyone working toward a common goal. I’m not saying they don’t do that in wrestling, but just working within the team. I love that part about football. I love everything else that comes a long with football.”
Links -- Remember this, Iowa offered Blythe as a 16-year-old junior at Williamsburg, as chronicled here by the Gazette's K.J. Pilcher. A pretty good bloodline is outlined here, with pretty much every male Blythe wrestling or playing football at Central.
Three most interesting bio items -- 1) Helped Williamsburg compile a 28-5 record the last three seasons. 2) Member of honor roll and National Honor Society. 3) Three-time state heavyweight finalist and two-time champion.
Ferentz on -- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked about the two Iowans (Blythe and TE Henry Krieger-Coble) in this class.
"Austin, it was like a lot of guys that I had, only a little further along and I reference our starting center right now [James Ferentz]; if you compare the two guys, their ages, body structure and size, all that type of thing, Austin is light years ahead, an excellent attitude and tremendous young man and a great competitor so we are really, really thrilled about him, too."
Iowa only had two O-linemen in this class, but they were the two it wanted.
"We did end up filling some spots with some guys at the end, but when you look at Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh, they were our top linemen that we had on our board," recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson said.
Projection is fun -- This is a toughie, but the timing fits for Blythe to (perhaps) take over for James Ferentz at center in two seasons. Redshirt, freshman and then in 2013, the job could be his.
Or does Blythe project to guard, where his 6-3 frame and wrestling expertise would fit in just fine.
He's probably not tall enough for tackle. Center feels like a fit.
“I think I’ll be playing offense for the Hawkeyes, and they said either guard or center,” Blythe said. “Wherever they put me, I think it’d be a fit. I play guard now. I think I could be good at center because with wrestling, I’m good with my hands and feet. I think I’m going to start doing some reps this spring and summer at center, just in case it works out there.”