Kind of remarkable for a guy who a year ago was considered to be a liability at worst, a big step down from J.K. Schaffer at best. Flash forward a year and the same guy is regarded as one of the top linebackers in the country, a likely draft pick, with an outside shot to create some all america buzz if he can replicate his form from2nd half of the season* for an entire one. That is one hell of a turn around from the start to his UC career which did not go according to plan.
* Over the last 7 games Blair averaged 13 tackles, and 1 TFL per game
What is going to be really interesting to watch is how he responds to that. For all of his football career he has been fighting against the grain. He played basketball in high school with his brother, he then went to a small school prep school in Charlotte, a prep school that was drawing the ire parents way back in 2010. N.C. Tech was put on blast by ESPN, and under investigation by the state of North Carolina. Three of its previous coaches faced criminal charges while employed.
Blair was long gone by the time the fury came to bear on N.C. Tech, he was playing JUCO ball at Lackawana College, in Scranton PA. Far away from the star studded, and exposure rich JUCO leagues of California, Mississipi, Kansas and Texas. He sort of fell through the cracks there as well. Sharing the field with Josh Francis (West Virginia) and Fabby Desir (UNC) he was overlooked, but Butch Jones found him, well after the recruiting the class of 2011 should have been completed.
Blair was held up by the NCAA clearing house, no doubt in regards to his time at N.C. Tech and didn't find his way to campus until mid September. He only appeared in one game, against Miami. He was injured in that game* and his season was over. Then last year happened, and it was amazing.
*That injury being the reason he is eligible for this season.
If you follow Blair on twitter he makes frequent allusions about how blessed he is. That might very well be true, but he is more resilient than anything else. His ability to push through everything, work his ass off and to finally succeed is a testament to him more than anything else. I hate to paraphrase LeBron, but statistically he shouldn't be where he is, and yet he is, kicking ass and taking names with Cincinnati on his chest. He may be Pittsburgh born and bread, but his story is about as Cincinnati as it gets.