Harlan on recruiting: Central Catholic’s Dallas, North Hills’ Blanks put their skills on tape

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | 6:12 PM


If college recruiters were waiting for more game film, Central Catholic’s Brian Dallas and North Hills’ Melvin Blanks will have scholarship offers soon.

Now three games into the season, Dallas, a junior, and Blanks, a senior, are among the WPIAL players who’ve emerged as stars this fall.

Blanks (6-0, 185), a running back and cornerback, rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries Friday. Dallas (6-4, 228), a defensive end, pushed his season sack total to 10.

Both already had the measurables. Now they’re backing up those numbers with remarkable on-field stats.

“A lot of guys liked the way Melvin looks physically, but they wanted to see some senior tape,” North Hills coach Pat Carey said. “I think he’s done himself well and deserves some looks. I believe that’s going to start to happen.”

Blanks drew interest last spring from FCS schools, said Carey, listing James Madison, Richmond and Villanova among them. At that time, most projected him as a college cornerback but that could change.

“He’s put together some great tape already this year on the offensive side of the ball,” Carey said. “He’s been very dynamic for us. He’s done some things that have really impressed myself and the opponents’ coaches.

“Our offensive line has done a nice job, but Melvin has a unique ability to really run with patience to find the openings. And the thing that’s most impressive to me is his speed and explosiveness when he gets in the open field. He’s walking by people.”

A year ago, Blanks was stuck behind a senior tailback. Now the starter, Carey predicts that FBS teams could show interest soon as more coaches watch Blanks’ highlights. His five touchdowns include a 98-yard kickoff return and a 70-yard run.

“I think it’s starting to pick up as we speak,” Carey said. “There are several coaches who contacted him and asked for my phone number. …The big-time schools are offering kids early, but there is a trickledown effect. Some schools are going to wait on kids. His junior tape is good. I think his senior tape is really good.”

Three weeks of film can show a lot.

Central Catholic already has a Division I defensive tackle in senior David Green, a Pitt commit. But Dallas has become a problem for offenses, as well.

The pass rusher sacked North Allegheny’s quarterback twice in the final 4 minutes last week, tackles that sealed a 14-7 victory. Dallas had five sacks in Week Zero against Erie’s Cathedral Prep, Central Catholic defensive coordinator Dave Fleming said.

“He’s basically unblockable right now,” Fleming said. “We played a great team in Cathedral Prep, and they couldn’t handle him. Last week he was all over the quarterback. He’s become a premiere pass rusher.”

Dallas has the frame to reach 265 pounds and play defensive end in college, Fleming said, or stay slimmer as an outside linebacker. As proof of his athleticism, Dallas now plays wide receiver on offense.

Fleming predicted Mid-American Conference offers will arrive soon, but Pitt also has shown interest in Dallas since Week Zero in Erie.

“I wouldn’t be surprised now if he just starts blowing up,” Fleming said. “He’s a kid that people were looking at last year when they were coming in to recruit (his teammates). They loved his body type. They just wanted to see a little bit more film on him. I’ll tell you what, the film that they’re going to see right now is tremendous.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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