With the Glendale Community College football team choosing to predominantly stick to the running game throughout the 2012 season, it left D’Angelo Blake without an extensive workload.
The wide receiver caught 22 passes for 286 yards and a team-high three touchdowns last year through the air. However, the Vaqueros’ biggest offensive threat was running back Collin Keoshian, who rushed for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns before transferring to Illinois State.
Blake continued to run his routes each contest and didn’t complain about not having the ball thrown to him. Not long after the season wrapped up, Blake journeyed to the weight room to add about 20 pounds of muscle and broke down film of his performances so he could find a way to become a prime offensive target for the Vaqueros in 2013.
“I’m going into the season thinking big things,” said the 6-foot-2 Blake, who arrived at Glendale college after playing at Long Beach Jordan High. “You have to find ways mentally and physically to be able to help your team out.
“I’ve set some goals. I’d like to catch about 60 passes for around 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. I want to be that big deep threat.”
The Vaqueros will have a pair of quarterback options in Sean Murphy and Jonathan Santos, who will look to find the 200-pound Blake downfield.
“I think we’ve all gotten to the point where we are on the same page,” said Blake, who first played receiver during his senior year at Jordan. “I want to be able to get out there fast and make a big catch for us.
“We’ve all been working well together at practice, getting to know each other’s tendencies.”
The Vaqueros will look for a turnaround after finishing 2-8 and 0-7 in the Pacific Conference’s American Division last season.
Glendale averaged 16.6 points per game last season, third lowest in the conference. It averaged 117.4 yards passing per contest with just nine touchdowns receptions.
Sixth-year Glendale Coach John Rome would like to see the numbers improve, starting with Blake, who averaged 13 yards per catch last season.
“He’s got a great combination of size and strength,” Rome said. “We think D’Angelo can be one of the guys who can jump up there and lead us.
“He can go get the ball. He’s got that quickness in which he can catch the ball and then turn upfield for extra yardage. He got some invaluable experience last year, plus we think he can have an active role with our special teams.”
That suits Blake.
“I’ve done and am still doings things to help me with my overall game,” said Blake, who competed in nine games last season. “I’ve watched film of last season and noting things that I could have done better and have worked on them in practice and can see some improvements being made.
“You can always improve on different blocking techniques, too. It’s just all about repetition, technique and being able to create separation.”
Glendale sophomore running back Brandon Foley said Blake will have more of an impact for the Vaqueros in various roles.
“He’s in the best shape I’ve seen him in,” Foley said. “We think he can be that consummate deep threat.
“He’s got that right mindset in that he tries to win every down and get a lot of yardage. That’s what you look for from your receivers.”
Whether it’s Murphy or Santos handling the signal-calling responsibilities, Blake said he will welcome all situations provided him roaming down the sidelines or across the middle of the field to haul in a pass and enhance the Vaqueros’ passing attack.