Matt Blanchard (Lake Zurich, IL/Lake Zurich)
, quarterback of the national champion UW-Whitewater football team, is participating in the Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Players All-Star Classic will pit North versus South, with the rosters predominantly made up of Division I players. Five Division III players were invited to participate in the game.
Blanchard is one of three quarterbacks for the North team. The others are Dominique Davis, who began playing at Boston College but finished at East Carolina University, and Alex Tanney of Monmouth College (IL), like Blanchard a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy. The three QB's on the South squad are Jordan Jefferson of LSU, Nathan Dick, who attended Arkansas and then finished at Central Arkansas, and Aaron Corp, a USC recruit who transferred to the University of Richmond.
The Players All-Star Classic is week of activities. Scouts from professional leagues participate and the players take part in drills, tests and interviews with the goal of making it onto a draft list or a team's list of potential free agents. The game will be played Saturday at 3:00 Saturday in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Blanchard completed 69% of his passes for 2,852 yards, 23 touchdowns, and four interceptions in 2011. He ranked sixth in passing efficiency in the final NCAA III statistics. Blanchard also ran the ball for 452 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per attempt with two touchdowns. In his junior year he completed 72% of his passes for 2,132 yards, 21 touchdowns with one interception. He started all ten regular season games for Whitewater, but missed the five playoff games because of an injury. Blanchard went 25-0 as a starting quarterback, and 45-0 in his three seasons as a Warhawk.
The most impressive numbers for Blanchard are his contributions to UW-Whitewater's success. He started all 15 games for UW-W in 2011, playing a key role in the Warhawks' 15-0 record, seventh straight Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and seventh consecutive NCAA III tournament appearance. UW-W has advanced to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl all seven years, capturing the last three (2009, 2010, 2011) national championships and four titles in the last five years.
Blanchard earned D3football.com Third Team All-America and First Team All-WIAC honors for 2011. He was one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, presented to the outstanding student-athlete in Division III football.
The head coach for the North team is Martin Bayless
, a veteran of 25 years of coaching in professional football after a 14 year NFL career.
The game will be televised throughout much of the southeastern United States and broadcast live on Little Rock radio. Fans are also encouraged to view the game's Facebook page
, the RSS feed
, and Twitter.
For additional information: Lance Leipold, UW-W football coach