For Camas High Senior and Quarterback Jake Blair, it has been a crazy ride. Blair has already faced immense adversity through just three years at CHS, breaking his collarbone twice, and now leading the team through a pandemic. Despite all the challenges he has faced, Blair is set to continue his football career as a preferred walk-on at Oregon State University.
Despite only playing one full season for the Papermakers, Blair still proved that he is capable of playing at the next level.
Blair said, “I broke my collarbone freshman year. Then my sophomore year was a lot of ups and downs with being a young guy on varsity. My junior year I also broke my collarbone again. My season was going great until that point.”
Scouts would say that having a great junior season is crucial for getting recruited. Up until Blair broke his collarbone his junior year, he was having a standout year.
CHS football coach Allen Jones said, “The first half of the season he was the starting QB on the top team in the state of Washington and had led us to an undefeated record at that point. I think the thing that was encouraging was each week we were seeing Jake get more comfortable out there on the field and each game he was playing a little bit better. He was doing a really nice job of running the offense and getting the ball to the dudes who score TDs, and he was doing a good job in protecting the football. Then right after halftime he breaks his collarbone and his season is over.”
Jones added he saw Blair persevere in spite of the challenges he faced. “A lot of athletes would have just kind of sat back and acted like they weren’t really a part of the team anymore. We see it often from guys, but Jake decided he was going to be an awesome teammate and try and help Blake in any way he could. I don’t think he missed a single practice after he got hurt.”
Blair received his first offer last spring.
He said, “I got my first offer last March from Georgetown University; I had an offer from the University of Idaho come next, and then Columbia University came after that.”
Blair committed to the Beavers program on October 16th.
“It was all about fit for me, like how can I fit in with the coaching staff, how can I fit in best with the offense, and just the campus and everything,” Blair said.
Another major factor into the decision was the location of the school and the competition that the PAC 12 conference provides.
Blair added, “The relationships I build are going to be really good for me, and those kind of all played into why I chose Oregon State. It’s always been a dream of mine too.”
Blair is one of many players from the CHS football program to play at the collegiate level.
He said, “It shows how successful we’ve been.”
CHS Head Football Coach Jon Eagle described what it means to play at OSU.
“Super excited for him. The OSU coaches are first class; it’s a great school; and he has set himself up to play at the highest level and get a great degree,” he said.
Jones added, “Well as you know I’m as loyal a Duck fan as there is, so when he texted me that he was going to Walk On at Oregon St I told him ‘That’s awesome buddy. You must not like winning games!’ Hand on a bible that’s what I texted him. And as much as I despise the Beavs and OSU I care a lot more about Jake so I will hope if he gets on the field in Corvallis that he does well.”
Both Blair’s coaches and teammates discussed what sort of impact he has on the program.
Eagle said, “First-rate character. Good things happen to good people who work hard.”
Jones added, “Jake’s leadership means a lot to our program, now more than ever. He’s been up on Varsity since he was a sophomore as a QB so he’s had quite a bit of time in the spotlight and he’s handled it pretty well. He’s always been kind of a lead by example guy, maybe not quite as vocal but always putting in the work and staying late.
Teammates also shared their appreciation for Blair’s work ethic and hunger to get better.
Former teammate and quarterback at Southern Oregon University Blake Asciutto said, “Jake as a teammate was everything you could ask for. It was hard for me to compete for a starting job against him because he’s not only a great player but he happens to be the nicest guy I have ever met. We basically became friends automatically.”
Asciutto also referenced Blair’s commitment to the team when he broke his collarbone last year.
“He got injured and still I’m not sure if he even missed a practice. He’s a great leader and I hope he gets a senior season,” he added.
Starting running back for CHS Jacques Badalato-Birdsell said, “Jake is a great teammate and a leader as well. He leads by example.”
Amidst the restrictions of the pandemic, Blair is rallying the troops and organizing safe workouts with small groups. He has also been focused on getting himself ready for the season.
“Individually, I’ve just been working out, throwing the football with my receivers, lifting weights, and running,” Blair said.
If a season does present itself, Blair happens to have some individual and collective goals in mind that he wants to accomplish.
He said, “I want to have a season where I throw for 1,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. That’s pretty hard to do. I also want to stay healthy throughout the entire season.”
“Team-wise we want to go back to back, that’s our big goal. That’s a really hard thing to do, but we can get the job done this year with the guys that we have,” Blair added.
The road ahead for Blair will be a grind, but his coaches and teammates have faith in him to prevail.
Jones said, “As a walk-on he’s going to have an uphill battle to climb. He’s going to need to work harder than the scholarship guys in order to get on the field. But he does have some things going for him that give him a chance at getting on the field. To start he’s got a great work ethic and when his teammates see how hard he’s willing to work, that will earn him some respect from his peers.”