Trey Reed, Times Record News
The sibling rivalry in the Blankenship house must have been fierce.
So fierce, that it drove youngest brother Adam Blankenship away from the offensive side of the ball and put him on the defensive from an early age.
Adam has made the break from the mold that saw older brothers Josh and Caleb have success at Oklahoma powerhouse Tulsa Union.
“It all stems from being younger and trying to be tougher than them,” Adam admits. “It had a lot to do with developing the defensive mentality.”
Adam will complete the sweep of Union head coach Bill Blankenship’s three sons to play in the Oil Bowl Saturday night at Memorial Stadium when he lines up at his defensive end position.
Older brother Josh was named co-MVP of the 1999 game, playing quarterback and leading Oklahoma to a 41-13 rout of Texas.
He used the Oil Bowl as a stepping-stone, playing three seasons at the University of Tulsa before heading to Eastern Washington. He was on the Miami Dolphins’ roster in 2003.
Caleb had several key receptions, but his team fell short 14-2 in 2001. He will enter his senior season the fall as a tight end at Tulsa.
Adam will get his chance to pull the family name ahead, but admittedly that hasn’t really crossed his mind.
“It wasn’t ever something that crossed my mind too much,” he said. “I knew if I had the opportunity to play in it, I’d be honored and I am. I’m definitely glad to be here, it’s going to be good.”
The family success has led to the pressure of expectations. With the success of his brothers, carrying the Blankenship name in Tulsa means that people tend to expect just a little more.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Adam said. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure to excel in whatever you do. It’s also a big motivator knowing that both of my brothers were successful.”
The move to defense has landed the 6-2, 230-pounder, with a quick first step, an ability to change directions in a hurry and close quickly on ball carriers, a shot to revive the Blackshirts of Nebraska this fall.
“When I went up on the visit, it was where I knew I wanted to go,” he said. “I didn’t get recruited much by the original coaching staff and this group really seemed to want me.”
He will also take the support of his family with him.
“A long time ago when they figured out that I was going to be playing defense, they made a point to tell me that I’m obviously on a different route and I needed to make a name for myself and do my own thing and not worry about what they’ve done,” Adam said.
“It’s been fun trying pick my own path.”