Diamond in the Rough: QB/LB Isaac Blessing

Isaac Blessing is a senior 6′ 3.5” 212lbs athlete for the Tolar High School football program. His main positions are quarterback and linebacker. Tolar Rattlers is a 2A district football team in Tolar, TX, a little over an hour outside Dallas. Isaac started his career at DB for his team before taking over multiple roles and doing what was needed to make his team win. He was a huge reason for their record last year being 13-1, which was a school record. After playing DB in his freshman and sophomore years, Isaac took over the linebacker role during his junior year, where he shined on the field. This isn’t the only position he shines in as he is also the starting quarterback for the team. Isaac was given the keys to the car this year when head coach Jeremy Mullins moved Isaac up from the backup quarterback position to the starting position for his senior season. While starting at quarterback this season, Isaac still will play multiple drives and plays on the defensive side to help his team the most that he can. This duel-way threat on both sides of the ball gives his team a ton of diversity in situations where they can use him. With the intensity and effort he puts in to succeed on both sides of the ball, Isaac has been having a fantastic senior year for the Rattler.

I got the chance to talk with Isaac recently, and here are the answers to some of the questions I asked him:

Q: When did you start playing football?

“I started playing football when I was in the third grade.”

Q: What is your favorite football memory?

“My favorite football memory beating Marlon last year in the second or third round of the playoffs. It was a really cool atmosphere.”

Q: What are your hobbies off of the football field?

“I love playing basketball. I run track. I love the watching the 49ers. They are my favorite NFL team. I can’t forget hanging out with and spending time with my Dad.”

Q: What have you learned about yourself while playing football?

“I have learned to gain the love for the game in the past three or four years. In middle school you just like the game, and then going into my freshmen year I started to just love the game. I’ve really gained an appreciating for what the game can do for you and what the game has done for other people.”

Q: What are your biggest strengths on the football field?

“Probably my intensity. I will give it 100%, everything I got, all four quarters. Yeah, I’d have to say my intensity.”

Q: Besides football, do you play any other sports? And, if yes, how have they help your football game?

“I play basketball and track. These sports have really helped me in keeping cool. In basketball it is constant playing, which has helped me to play while I’m tired.”

Q: How was the switch from linebacker to quarterback?

“It was an interesting change. You have to go from playing linebacker which is like be as ecstatic as you want and playing hard, hitting people. Then you have to switch to quarterback where you have to be calm and collected. You have to relay the play in, see what the defense is in, and staying cool and collected. It has been a really cool experience playing quarterback and I love it.”

Q: Did you play quarterback before coming the starter this year?

“I played quarterback when I was on JV. I started both sides in JV as a freshman for my first six games before I moved up to varsity. Last year I played four games at quarterback and still playing at linebacker. My sophomore year, before I broke my collar bone, we were having a quarterback battle.”

Q: During this season how often do you play of the defensive side of the ball?

“I start the game at linebacker, starting at both sides. I usually get two to three drives at linebacker, then I’ll get supped out for a couple of drives. After that I’ll get springled in here and there when we need a big stop or something like that. It really like, once I finish the first three drives I’ll stand beside Coach Mullins, our defensive coordinator, and head coach, I’ll just let him know that I’m good to go in whenever he needs me. If I am in, I usually get subbed out for punts so I can go talk to our offensive coordinator to prepare for our next offensive drive.”

Q: When you play linebacker, are you mostly in coverage or rushing the quarterback?

“Run stopper. Definitely, a run stopper. I can cover when I need to but most of the time, I am a run stopper. I am a middle linebacker between the tackle type of guy.”

Q: Has playing linebacker help you in playing quarterback?

“It has honestly help me because I can pick apart a defense coming originally from playing defense. It has also given me more toughness. That and I might be the most bruising quarterback in the state. I can lower my shoulder to run through a guy. I’m not afraid to stand up in the pocket and have a dude come rush me. I can give him a stiff arm and throw him to the ground, then evade the pocket and throw it deep. I’m not afraid of anybody because I have that mentality to be a dog on the field. I can look at a linebacker and think about how I am going to run them over and it’s tough for our opposing linebackers who have to face us.”

Q: Which position would you say you enjoy more? And why?

“I just love football. They are two completely different positions. They do have some similarities, like they both are the leader of both sides of the ball. One you can go ape crazy, and the other one you really have to stay calm. I have to say I have fun on both sides of the ball. I can’t choose I’d have to say both.”

Q: Explain your leadership role for your team?

“I would say I am the caption of this team. I love the guys around me and I would do anything for them. There is one thing that I don’t want to let them down and I know the guy next to me has my back and I have his back no matter what. We really have a brotherhood out here in Tolar.”

Q: How would your coach describe you?

“Hopefully, a guy he sees in a high light. Someone they respect.”

Q: How would your teammates describe you?

“A leader. Someone they can rely on and come to if they need anything.”

Q: What is your favorite accomplishment so far in your football career?

“In my football career, I was really happy with the season I had last year, especially in the playoffs. I think I averaged around 16 tackles per game in the playoffs. I really was laser focused in on watching film. Really feeling like I already knew what the defense was doing before they did it. For a specific accomplishment, it would have to be being apart to that 13-1 season that we had last year and also breaking just about every school record there was. Getting to be a part of that and that culture was an awesome experience. I’m excited that we are going to run it back this year and go break even more records.”

Q: What have you worked on over the offseason to improve your game?

“It’s mainly been transitioning into a two-way guy. It’s not like I’ve never done this, I was backup quarterback last year and played in a few games. The transition to playing both hasn’t been too hard. I mean, I came into high school thinking I was going to be the varsity quarterback and then I found the love for linebacker. Team needed me to play linebacker I played linebacker. This year, team needed me to play quarterback I play quarterback. Staying prepared levelheaded is how I’ve prepared this offseason.”

Q: What is your personal goal for the season?

“State championship. I got to book to end on my career. That and getting back at Crawford. I’ve never beaten them in my high school career. We’ve lost to them in my freshmen year, sophomore year, and my junior year. I am ready to get back at them. I want to have a great end of book career for my career and get ready for college. Also, a state championship.”

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced on the field?

“My biggest challenge was coming back from breaking my collar bone my sophomore season. I broke my collar bone in the first game of the season. I was playing good to, before that. I was playing quarterback and DB at the time, weighing about 175. The first half I had two touchdowns at quarterback and then had eight tackles on defense. I thought I was playing really well that game. Coming in during the third quarter I came screaming down on a toss sweep and then just cracked the halfback. When I rolled off of him, I got up and I was all excited. Then out of nowhere my arm drooped down and I got confused. I played one more play, went to get off of a block and my arm wouldn’t move. I went to the sideline and out of nowhere this pain kept on growing and growing. I knew something was wrong, got it checked out and yep. I went and got it fixed. I came back way late in the season, the second round of playoffs and didn’t do much. I took that as a challenge to get better for my junior year, and I had a fantastic season last year. So, I think that was a big obstacle I have overcome and used as a positive light to think about how I have to make up on two years of football this (Junior) year.”

Q: What NFL or college player do you model your game?

“For linebacker it would be Fred Warner on the 49ers. For quarterback I would compare myself to Taysom Hill because of everything I can bring to the table.”

Q: How has the recruiting process been for you?

“I wouldn’t say it’s been hard, but it’s been on the rough side because going to a small school you do not get a lot of looks. I’ve had a lot of good talks with a couple coaches. No real offers yet, got to get through this season. I’m staying in contact. Hopefully going to a couple of games and visits soon. Hopefully, by the grace of God, I get to get a scholarship and get to go play football and show what I can do at the next level.”

Q: What makes you special where a college should be interested in you?

“My intensity. Knowing that every single down you are getting 110% of Isaac Blessing and that, comparing myself to Taysom Hill, I can play quarterback, linebacker, defensive end, tight end, running back, full back, receiver, just an all-around athlete. Just expect you will be getting all of me all the time.”