Leominster native Rob Blanchflower '14 (communication) will take part in the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl, one of the top postseason showcase events for collegiate football, on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m., and the game will be televised live on the NFL Network, as will the week of practices leading up to kickoff.
This past season Blanchflower broke the UMass record for receiving yards by a tight end, finishing his career ranked 15th all-time at UMass with 1,164 receiving yards. He also ranks eighth all-time in career receptions with 109. Despite missing half of the season due to injury, Blanchflower still maintained a veteran leadership role with the team as captain and was awarded the Vern Smith Leadership Award. Widely considered one of the top tight ends in UMass history, he battled injuries throughout the 2013 season, finishing with 27 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns – including the 47-yard game-winner against Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 12 – in just six games. He is the seventh Minuteman to play in the Senior Bowl, joining Emil Igwenagu (2012), Vladimir Ducasse (2010), James Files (1976), Ed McAleney (1976), John Hulecki (1972) and Morin (1966).
Blanchflower is currently projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick in the NFL draft. Early in the year, he was rated by Gil Brandt as one of the top five senior tight ends in the country. According to NFLDraftScout.com, he is the eighth-rated tight end available for the draft and the 159th-ranked player overall.