If it’s not about the journey, but the destination, then consider Broncos center Philip Blake the most fortunate player to come out of this year’s draft.
Blake played just one year of football in high school. Born in Canada, Blake played two years of football in the country before Baylor started to recruit him. Blake couldn’t get into Baylor through Clearinghouse so he had to go to a school without a football program, and then enter Baylor as a transfer student.
It sounded easy enough. Blake left his hockey skates and his home country to take a semester at a school without a football program. However, during that time, Baylor moved from Conference USA to the Big 12 which has different eligibility rules. Instead of sitting out another year of football, Blake went to Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. He was required to graduate, so 60 credits later he was finally able to transfer to Baylor.
That makes Blake a 26-year-old NFL rookie. He was 23 when he started at Baylor.
“The funny thing is I wasn’t even the oldest on the team,” Blake said.
Perhaps he would have been taken in the first or second round of the draft if he were a 22-year-old rookie. Instead the Broncos selected him in the fourth round (108th overall).
To Blake, it doesn’t matter where he was selected. He’s happy just to finally be playing in the league.
In college, he was snapping the ball to No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin Jr. III. In the pros, he has the chance to snap to Peyton Manning.
“I don’t really think about it too much, I just try to do my job here,” Blake said of the two high profile quarterbacks.
When Blake first arrived at Baylor, he played tackle before moving over to center. Broncos starting center and Baylor alum J.D. Walton helped Blake with the transition. Expect Walton to help Blake with this transition as well.
So for the kid that admits he only got into football because of the Madden video game, and for the kid where hockey was the country’s biggest sport, Blake is doing well for himself even if he did take the scenic route to the NFL.