• 57°

WO-S grad Blanchard nabs Big 12 honors

WACO — More big honors are going out to former West Orange-Stark football standouts.

Baylor nickel back Travon Blanchard, a West Orange-Stark graduate, has been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Bears’ 35-24 victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday night.

Blanchard, a 6-2, 205-pound junior from had 11 tackles (eight unassisted), including a career-high 4.5 tackles in the game. Blanchard also registered a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry.

With Baylor up 28-24, Oklahoma State threatening to take the lead in the fourth quarter, when Blanchard punched the ball loose at the Baylor 2-yard line and recovered it at the one.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Blanchard will be added to the Bronko Nagurski Watch List. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thursday, Nov. 17. The winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team.

Last season Blanchard started at nickelback in all 13 games, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from league coaches as sophomore He ranked 20th in conference with 6.5 tackles-per-game… Totaled 83 tackles (65 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss of 33 yards, two sacks (-17 yards), six breakups, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one hurry and one blocked punt on season

Blanchard was a two-time all-state honoree from West Orange-Stark High. He was a three-year starter at linebacker and defensive back under head coach Cornel Thompson.

He earned first-team 2012 3A All-State honors at DB after totaling 88 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery as a senior. He helped lead WO-S to a13-1 record and state quarterfinals in 2012. He earned 2012 first-team All-District 21-3A and first-team All-Orange Leader honors as a safety. He was named 2011 second-team Class 3A All-State as junior, helping WO-S to a 10-4 record and regional finals in 2011.