Dave Bryan of SteelersDepot.com has a story on how UMass football alum Rob Blanchflower is hoping to have bounced back enough from an early ankle injury to still see action on Saturday night in Pittsburgh's preseason game against New York.
The Pittsburgh Steelers website has a Getting To Know feature of Rob Blanchflower to help introduce the UMass alum and seventh round draft pick to their fans. Blanchflower says the blue-collar toughness of Pittsburgh is a great fit for him because it reminds him of central Massachusetts.
Ryan Petrovich of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a story last week on the NFL Rookie Symposium with several quotes from former UMass standout Rob Blanchflower. The Leominster native was the seventh round draft pick for the Steelers back in May and discusses how veterans on the team help make the transition to the NFL easier with their guidance.
Former UMass football standout tight end Rob Blanchflower is mentioned in a story on Steelers.com about the programming provided for Pittsburgh's rookies which helps acclimate them to the franchise as well as the NFL. Part of the programming includes guest speakers on finance and professionalism as an NFL employee. Rookies also do work in the community, learn other life lessons and are given advice and guidance on how to make the most of their opportunities outside of football.
"Anyone that leaves college and has to go to the real world to a job has to deal with a lot of things they didn't have to deal with growing up," said tight end Robert Blanchflower, the team's seventh-round draft pick. "It's like taking Finance 101 and Life Skills 101. I think the biggest thing to all of us were taxes. When you are a student you aren't dealing with that. I don't think anyone realized how serious that was. But setting up for the future, a 401K and financial advisors, most things 22-years old right out of college don't always have to deal with.
"There is a great support system here. We learn a lot about finances and being responsible so there is no negative feedback on the program, ourselves or our families. Being aware of things that are out there and getting educated helps with the learning curve and the process of maturing and getting into the professional workplace."
"Talking to other friends on other teams, they aren't as thorough as they are here," said Blanchflower. "It's a blessing they take the time out to get the resources to help us."
Neal Coolong of SBNation's BehindTheSteelCurtain.com has a story on five questions about the Pittsburgh Steelers during the OTA session of the offseason. One of those questions addresses UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower and where he will fit into the Steelers offense.
Don't be shocked to see tight end Rob Blanchflower make a serious run at a roster spot over the next 12 weeks. He has decent athleticism, and this is a team that would have given David Johnson a serious look at fullback in 2012 had he not blown out his ACL in the team's first preseason game. Blanchflower is a similar kind of player. Using the team's seldom-used fullback as its third tight end frees up a roster spot for that sixth wide receiver, should they want to go that route.
Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise has a great feature story on Rob Blanchflower and his path to the NFL Draft.
"Minicamp was an initiation by fire for me because I hadn't practiced in almost a year with my injury senior year of college," Blanchflower said. "Last year I only played on game day, and haven't really practiced since last August. Making it through it was tough, but also proved to me the level of fitness and mental discipline to make it in the league."
Scott Brown of ESPN.com has a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends with several mentions of Rob Blanchflower and how he could impact the team.
Most significant addition: Blanchflower. The Steelers really like this under-the-radar prospect who set UMass' record for career receiving yards by a tight end (1,164). Blanchflower can block as well as catch passes, and tight ends coach James Daniels said, "He has a high level of aggression."
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Rob Blanchflower who spent his first day with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday. Blanchflower was taken in the 7th round of the NFL Draft by the organization last Saturday becoming the third Minuteman since 2010 to be selected in the draft.
Fans, teammates and media outlets shared their thoughts on Twitter over the weekend after Rob Blanchflower was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 7th round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Blanchflower is the third Minuteman since 2010 to be taken in the NFL Draft.
Casey Viera of ABC40 in Springfield caught up with Rob Blanchflower prior to the 2014 NFL Draft to see what a day in his life was like leading up to his being selected in the 7th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One of UMass' most popular players of the past two seasons had his dreams come true on Saturday afternoon as Rob Blanchflower was taken in the 7th round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The tight end from Leominster was a fan favorite not just for his skill and football ability, but for his toughness and off-the-field personality.
UMass alum Brendan Hall (happy belated birthday) has a terrific profile of UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower who is expected to be picked in this weekend's NFL Draft. Hall chronicles Blanchflower's path to college including his initial decision to forego scholarship offers by taking out a $15,000 student loan to attend UMass.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican looks at Rob Blanchflower's NFL Draft potential in this weekend's event and he takes a look at UMass football's history in the AFL/NFL Draft. The Minutemen have had three players drafted in the last four years.
UMass football draft history
1964 - HB Fred Lewis | Oakland Raiders (AFL), 17th round (135th overall) 1965 - FB Phil Vandersea | Green Bay Packers, 16th round (220th) & Denver Broncos (AFL), 9th round 1965 - QB Jerry Whelchel | San Diego Chargers (AFL), 9th round (70th) 1966 - TE Milt Morin | Cleveland Browns, 1st round (14th) & San Diego Chargers (AFL), 3rd round (24th) 1966 - TE Bob Meers | Minnesota Vikings, 7th round (106th) 1966 - DE/HB Bob Ellis | Cleveland Browns, 15th round (229th) & Boston Patriots (AFL), 10th round 1966 - DT Ed Toner | Baltimore Colts, 18th round (275th) 1968 - QB Greg Landry | Detroit Lions, 1st round (11th) 1970 WR Steve Parnell | Atlanta Falcons, 16th round (403rd) 1971 - G Bubba Pena | Cleveland Browns, 4th round (92nd) 1971 - TE Nick McGarry | Boston Patriots, 15th round (365th) 1972 - G John Hulecki | Pittsburgh Steelers, 15th round (368th) 1972 - DT Harold Parmenter | Denver Broncos, 15th round (370th) 1973 - DB Paul Metallo | Kansas City Chiefs, 13th round (329th) 1974 - QB Peil Pennington | Denver Broncos, 15th (379th) 1974 - WR Tim Berra | Baltimore Colts, 17th round (421st) 1975 - DE Bill Cooke | Green Bay Packers, 10th round (244th) 1976 - DT Ed McAleney | Pittsburgh Steelers, 8th round (237th) 1979 - G Bruce Kimball | Pittsburgh Steelers, 7th round (192nd) 1980 - K Sandro Vitiello | Cincinnati Bengals, 10th round (252nd) 1999 - LB Khari Samuel | Chicago Bears, 5th round (144th) 2010 - G Vladimir Ducasse | New York Jets, 2nd round (61st) 2013 - RB Michael Cox | New York Giants, 7th round (253rd)
John Connolly of the Boston Herald has a feature on Rob Blanchflower and the upcoming NFL Draft. Connolly focuses on Blanchflower's path to the draft and how the return of coach Mark Whipple has helped him.
"Coach Whipple has been great. Every scout and NFL coach that has come in here speaks so highly of him and tells me what a great guy he is. He's really helped me a lot," Blanchflower said. "He has reached out to me. He loves UMass. He loves it here. He is so passionate about the university."
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a collection of quotes from various media outlets which cover the NFL regarding UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower, his strengths as an NFL player and predictions as to where he will be picked in this weekend's NFL Draft.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican takes a look at some of the possible teams who could sign UMass' Rob Blanchflower in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. Two possibilities are teams with local and current UMass ties in the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Rob Blanchflower and how the move of the NFL Draft from April to May has been beneficial for him. Blanchflower has been recovering from postseason surgery and was finally able to work out for scouts on April 23 after missing the NFL Combine, Pro Day and several other events.
"It went really well," said Blanchflower, who drew representatives from 15 NFL teams last week for his solo pro day on April 23. "I could do all the tight end specific drills, running around, catching, blocking and things like that. I think I did a good job showing I could play the position."
Had the draft been in April, he might not have been healthy in time to get the chance.
"The fact that I could move my pro day back so far was definitely a blessing for me," Blanchflower said. "They could see I'm recovering. I was moving fluidly, moving around like an athlete, not some old stiff coming off of surgery. I'm going to be able to do all the things I'm capable of doing. That was the most important thing, showing that I'm healthy."
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Rob Blanchflower and how he has been working to recover this off-season from an injury that kept him sidelined for much of the 2013 season. Blanchflower discusses how he is working out and speaking with scouts as much as possible to earn himself a spot with a NFL team when preseason camp opens this summer.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has an update on Rob Blanchflower who was at the NFL Combine this past week, but did not participate in the on-the-field drills as he is still recovering from his injury suffered during the season.
Ed Valentine of BigBlueView.com takes a look at draft eligible tight ends in this year's NFL Draft. He writes about UMass' Rob Blanchflower and the apparent connection between the New York Giants and the Minutemen with Victor Cruz, Julian Talley and Michael Cox all playing for New York.
UMass alum Jeff Howe has a notebook in the Boston Herald with updates from the NFL Combine. He caught up with UMass' Rob Blanchflower who is at the Combine this week, but will not take part in workouts on Saturday as he continues recovery from an injury he played through during the season.
Blanchflower says he will be ready for UMass' Pro Day on March 25.
Andy Hart of Patriots.com has a look at the tight ends who will be available in the upcoming NFL Draft and makes mention of UMass' Rob Blanchflower towards the end of the story.
Blanchflower, whose UMass team calls Gillette Stadium home on game days, barely practiced this past fall due to bilateral hernia, meaning his groin and abdominal muscles on both sides were torn. That caused him great pain and limitations, but he still proved his toughness but gutting through it on game day.
Though coming off an injury that will prevent him from working out at the Combine, and coming from a lower level, the Minuteman and Massachusetts native still thinks he's got what it takes to measure up at the next level.
"I think I'm up there with the elite in the country," Blanchflower said. "I'm looking to just get my foot in the door. If it comes in the fourth round or as an undrafted free agent, it is what it is."
The NFL Scouting Combine will take place this weekend with UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower hoping to turn in an impressive performance. Blanchflower will work out in Indianapolis on Saturday, Feb. 22 as the offensive lineman, tight ends and kickers are scheduled. The Combine will be aired live on the NFL Network.
Blanchflower is currently ranked as the No. 10 tight end available and as the 198th player overall according to NFLDraftScout.com.
The Minutemen received tough news this week as Rob Blanchflower has been ruled inactive for the game at Ohio on Friday afternoon (2 PM) as announced by head coach Charley Molnar on Tuesday after practice.
It was a tough loss for UMass on Saturday against Akron at Gillette Stadium. Here are the recaps and highlights from the game. The Minutemen will now turn their focus to the Central Michigan game this Saturday at 1 PM.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican hands out his Week 9 helmet stickers following UMass football's loss to Western Michigan last Saturday with Rob Blanchflower, Lorenzo Woodley and Khary Bailey-Smith each receiving praise for their performances.
After falling behind late in the fourth quarter, UMass was able to rally with a potential game-winning drive in the final minutes at Gillette on Saturday, but a missed two-point conversion try for the win with 22 seconds remaining gave the Broncos a 31-30 win on Homecoming.
Jeff Wagenheim of the Boston Globe has a feature on UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower and the national attention he has received since returning to the Minutemen's line-up during the Vanderbilt game.
"It's all about the work ethic for me," said Blanchflower, who has 15 receptions in his shortened season for 156 yards, and whose 1,007 career yards are 146 shy of Milt Morin's school record for tight ends.
"There's always room for improvement. I had a couple of plays that stood out last weekend, and the stats looked good, but I didn't have a great game. A couple of those dropped balls haunted me."
So much so that on Sunday morning, while many teammates and UMass fans were still in bed dreaming the sweet dreams of victory, Blanchflower was back at work.
"I woke up early and got together with my coach at 8 a.m. to watch film," he said. "I'm making strides every day, but there's always another ball you can catch, another play you can make."
A year from now, he might be making those plays on Sundays.
As Kiper said of Blanchflower in his draft analysis, "Big tight ends who can run and catch the ball like wide receivers? Yeah, the NFL is buying right now."
Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise has a feature story on UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower who was named to the Mackey Award Mid-Season Watch List this week and was the organizations national Tight End of the Week. The yearly award is presented to the nation's top collegiate tight end.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a piece on Rob Blanchflower being named the John Mackey National Tight End of the Week just one day after he was also named to the award's mid-season watch list for the yearly honor.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican hands out his weekly helmet stickers with Khary Bailey-Smith (10 tackles, 2 INT), Jamal Wison (146 total offense), Rob Blanchflower (98 yards receiving, 1 TD) each getting recognition.
Draft guru Mel Kiper looks at several emerging NFL draft prospects in his weekly ESPN.com Insiders piece with Todd McShay. He had this to say about UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower.
Kiper: Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass Big tight ends who can run and catch the ball like wide receivers? Yeah -- the NFL is buying right now. And while Blanchflower drove me a little crazy Saturday, dropping three passes by my count as I watched the game, he's a pretty good player and I think he has a chance to be a third-day selection next May. He's about 6-5 and around 260 pounds, runs pretty well and what I like is the way he catches the ball, using his hands and not letting it get to his body.
Blanchflower has long arms, pretty good quickness for a guy his size, and runs well when he's in space. He has been a four-year starter, and last year had 43 catches. We'll see a number of tight ends taken again this year, and Blanchflower has a shot to be one of them.
A strong defensive effort with three interceptions alongside some timely offense lifted UMass to a 17-10 win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday in front of 21,707 fans at Gillette Stadium. Check out the coverage of the win and highlights below.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Rob Blanchflower who has continued to practice this week after missing the first three games due to an injury. Blanchflower and head coach Charley Molnar both say they aren't sure about the time frame in which Blanchflower will return to game action, but both are eager to have him back in the lineup.
Molnar said whenever Blanchflower returns, it will give his struggling offense a big lift.
"He exemplifies the toughness of a Minuteman. He's mentally tough. He's physically tough," Molnar said. "He'll play hurt. He stays in when he's tired. He never wants to come out of the game. We had some games last year that were decided well before the end of the game, but he played every snap like it was his last. His skill set is well above average. Super hands. Excellent blocker. His knowledge of the offense. He went out there Tuesday. He hasn't practiced in a long time and he's right up there with all the players who have been out there every day since the beginning of August. He's stayed very, very sharp mentally."
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a story today on the return of Rob Blanchflower to practice on Monday. Though his work was limited, Blanchflower stated that being back on the field was a relief.
"I came out and did what they told me to do, did the work that I was allowed to by the trainers and just got as much work in as I could," he said. "It felt great to get out here and run around and finally do some football-related activities."
His status for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough is still up in the air, but Blanchflower said he feels "very close" to returning to game action.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a story on Jordan Broadnax being listed as out and Rob Blanchflower being a game-time decision for the game against Maine on Saturday at Gillette Stadium (2 PM).
He also writes that Stacey Bedell and Derek Beck, who replaced Broadnax and Blanchflower respectively at Wisconsin, performed well in place of the two veterans.
Charley Molnar said Monday after practice that tight end Rob Blanchflower will miss the season-opener at Wisconsin. Michigan transfer Ricardo Miller is expected to make his first collegiate start in place of Blanchflower.
Matt Stewart of the Sentinel & Enterprise has a story on Rob Blanchflower who is being held out of practice for the remainder of training camp due to injury. It is still possible for him to play in the Wisconsin game.
"I hope to perform greater than I did last year," Blanchflower said. "It was sort of a breakthrough season for me, but I know I can perform at the level of the Central Michigan game every week. Last year I wasn't consistent every week, and I'd like to be more consistent this year."
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a story today on Rob Blanchflower who was named to the 2014 Senior Bowl Watch List earlier this week.
Should Blanchflower make the 65th-annual all-star game in Mobile, Ala., he would become just seventh player in school history to do so, joining a list that includes Milt Morin (1966), John Hulecki (1972), Ed McAleney (1976), James Files (1976), Vladimir Ducasse (2010) and Emil Igwenagu (2012).
Matt Stewart of the Sentinel & Enterprise has a feature on Leominster native Rob Blanchflower and his development into one of the top tight ends in the Mid-American Conference. Blanchflower was also surprised at Media Day to find his jersey will have the letter 'C' on it to denote his status as team captain.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a look at the UMass offense and what can be done this year to generate more big plays to help sustain drives. Wide receiver Tajae Sharpe says a balanced run game will help the Minutemen set-up the pass better in 2013.
Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican finished his 10 players to watch series in this piece. He has Rob Blanchflower as his No. 3 player to watch, while quarterback Mike Wegzyn takes the No. 1 spot.
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican also has a story on Rob Blanchflower being named a team captain for the 2013 season. UMass head coach Charley Molnar also stated that additional captains would be named at the team banquet.
Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise has a feature on Leominster native Rob Blanchflower who had a breakout season for the UMass football team in 2012. Stewart also notes that Blanchflower's leadership earned him the title of team captain for the upcoming season in a vote by the team.
Kerri Fleming of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has a story on all that is new this season with the UMass football program. Area players Rob Blanchflower, Brandon Potvin and Brandon Howard speak of how the changes have brought new motivation and excitement to the team.
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican and Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette each have stories on the visit of Lt. Governor Tim Murray to Thursday's football practice as the Minutemen closed preseason camp.
Kerri Fleming has a look at Rob Blanchflower and his impact on the UMass football offense in 2012. Blanchflower will enter the season at the team's top tight end after splitting time last season with Emil Igwenagu who is currently with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Head Coach Kevin Morris said his players will take a one-game-at-a-time approach to the season, which begins tonight at Holy Cross.
Sophomore tight end Rob Blanchflower said he and his teammates have broken down their season into smaller goals, too. "Even though we can't play for a CAA championship, we can play to be the best offensive [team] in the country, be the best defense in the country,'' he said. "Shut teams out, put up points, knock people out of the playoffs. We have a very competitive attitude.''
Senior tailback Jonathan Hernandez will have one of the team goals his senior season altered. Because of the move to the FBS, the 2011 season will be a transition period, in which the Minutemen will play a full FCS schedule, but will not be elligible for postseason play.
"I'm excited for the younger kids, because they are moving on to the MAC," Hernandez said. "I'm really excited for them, but I'm just excited to play this season. I don't think that affects any of us on the team at all. We like to compete and Coach Morris stresses that all the time. We're taking every game like its our last game."
"I came here to get a natinoal championship ring," Leominster native Rob Blanchflower said. "Now that we're moving up, I don't have that opportunity but I do have the opportunity to play in a bowl game. Being in a bowl game, playing in front of bigger crowds, that's pretty incredible."
Five Minutemen celebrate birthdays today: Rob Blanchflower from football, Kyle Jennings from swimming, Conor Sheary and Joel Hanley from hockey, and Sean Carter from men's basketball. Happy birthday guys - hope you have a great day!
Check out this interview with UMass Football Coach Kevin Morris and this week's Spring Practice Most Valuable Players. Tuesday's MVP's were defensive backs Christian Birt and Antoine Tharpe, tight end Rob Blanchflower and wide receiver Tom Gilson