Blue Raiders Land Four Early Signees

December 20, 2000 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, TN - Middle Tennessee head football coach Andy McCollum announced today the signing of four players as mid-term signees. The Blue Raiders fulfilled immediate needs by bringing in three offensive linemen and a free safety who will all enroll in school this January and be available for spring practice in March.

Junior College all-American center Nathan Blasi (blay-ZEE) (Butler Co. CC), and offensive guards Bill Brasch (bra-shh) (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M) and Preston Portley (Ft. Scott (Kan.) CC) will help fill the void of four starting offensive linemen lost to graduation. Free safety Shawn Allen, from LaGrange, GA, signed a scholarship with the Blue Raiders out of Troup Co. High School and will have four years of eligibility.

"All four signees will have a major impact on our program," McCollum said. "The three linemen were crucial to us since we lost four starters, and Allen is one of the top safeties in Georgia. Being able to join our program in January is a huge plus for us and them. We are excited about signing four quality athletes who will make a difference in our program both on and off the field."

Blasi, out of Wichita, Kan., was rated the No. 2 lineman in the Jayhawk Conference and the 12th best player overall. An all-Region and all-league pick, Blasi helped lead Butler to a 10-2 record last season. A two-year starter, Blasi was a member of Butlers 1999 National Championship team where he opened holes for current Auburn standout Rudy Johnson. He selected the Blue Raiders over Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, Marshall, UAB and New Mexico State.

Brasch was an all-conference performer at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, who is coming off a 9-3 campaign. The 6-4, 300 Brasch redshirted in 1999 and comes to the Blue Raiders with three years of eligibility. He picked Middle Tennessee over North Texas, Tulsa and Oklahoma State.

Portley, 6-4, 336, makes his way to Murfreesboro by way of Ft. Scott CC where he was a standout lineman. Portley, a powerful blocker with quick feet, chose the Blue Raiders over Oklahoma State, Minnesota and LSU.

Allen, the lone prep player of the December signees, was rated the No. 2 safety in Georgia and runs a 4.4 40. Allen, who led Troup Co. to a 7-3 mark and collected 70 tackles a year ago, also anchored the 4x100 state championship relay team. Allen picked Middle Tennessee over Georgia, Auburn, Memphis and Kentucky.

The Blue Raiders will complete the signing of the 2001 class on National Signing Day, which is scheduled for February 7, 2001.


SHAWN ALLEN 6-1, 190, Fr., FS, LaGrange, GA/Troup Co. HS

High School: Led Troup County to a 7-3 mark in 2000 after registering 70 solo tackles and three interceptions ... Vote area Player of the Week on three occassions ... Team captain as a senior ... Rated the No. 2 safety in Georgia by scouting services in 1998 ... As a sophomore, Allen tallied 120 tackles ... Has been clocked in the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds ... Anchored Troup Countys 4x100 state championship relay team ... Chose MT over Georgia, Auburn, Memphis and Kentucky.

Personal: Parents: Ella Allen ... Born: 3/2/81.

NATHAN BLASI 6-2, 275, Jr., C, Wichita, KS/Butler Co. CC

Butler Co. CC: A Gridwire JuCo All-American in 2000 ... Rated the No. 12 player in the entire Jayhawk Conference and the No. 2 lineman, while also garnering first team league and All-Region honors ... Helped Butler Co. to a 10-2 record in 2000 and paved the way for an offense that averaged 34 points and 354 yards ... As a junior, Blasi and BCCC won the national championship with a 11-1 record ... In two years, Blasi started all 24 games ... In 1999, Blasi opened holes for current Auburn running back Rudy Johnson ... Chose MT over Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Minnesota, New Mexico State and UAB ... (blay-ZEE).

High School: As a senior, Goddard went 5-4 and Blasi earned first team all-conference as a defensive lineman and first team all-league honors as an offensive lineman ... He was also a second team all-state 5A selection ... Was a finalist for the Shrine Bowl All-Star game ... As a junior he earned second team all-conference honors ... Also lettered four years in baseball and wrestling.

Personal: Parents: Jane and the late Ken Blasi... Born: 5/14/80.

BILL BRASCH 6-4, 300, So., OG, Jones, OK/Northeast Oklahoma A&M

NE Oklahoma A&M: Helped lead NE Oklahoma to a 9-3 mark in 2000 and earned all-Conference honorable mention honors ... Was redshirted as a freshman ... Played for coach Dale Patterson ... Chose MT over North Texas, Tulsa and Oklahoma State.

High School: Helped lead Luther HS to a 10-2 mark his senior year and a four-year record of 55-6 ... Named District Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2000 ... Also earned all-City and honorable mention all-State honors ... Was a four-year letterman in baseball and also was a member of the band where he played the trombone.

Personal: Parents: Jerry and Elaine Brasch ... Born: 1/21/81.

PRESTON PORTLEY 6-4, 336, Jr., OT, Kansas City, KS/Ft. Scott (Kan.) CC

Ft. Scott CC: Helped lead FSCC to a 5-5 mark and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs ... An honorable mention all-conference player ... Played for coach Kevin Gundy ... Chose MT over Oklahoma State, Minnesota, and LSU.

High School: Attended Wyandotte HS in Kansas City, KS ... A four-year lettermen in football.

Personal: Guardian: Linda Cofield (aunt)... Born: 7/21/81.

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