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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Doc" Blanchard

Felix "Doc" Blanchard, the 1945 Heisman Trophy winner and West Point's "Mr. Inside" in one of college football's most famous backfields, has died. He was 84.

The bruising fullback Blanchard, listed at 6 feet, 208 pounds, and Glenn Davis, aka Mr. Outside, helped Army win consecutive national titles in 1944-45. Blanchard ended up at West Point after a year at the University of North Carolina. He tried to enlist in a Navy program, but they wouldn't take him because of his size. Despite his best efforts to drop poundage, he was unable. There was no fat on him.

Notre Dame coach Ed McKeever was quoted as saying about Blanchard in 1944: "I've just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears No. 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard."

The year after Blanchard became the first junior to win the Heisman Trophy, Glenn Davis won it and Army went undefeated again. With Blanchard and Davis, Army went 27-0-1 from 1944-46.

Although the point has been made that most university's teams were depleted, as the best players were away in the war effort, the duo is recognized as two of the greatest football players of all time. Davis died in 2005 at the age of 80. Blanchard, the son of a doctor, was born in Bishopville, S.C.

He led St. Stanislaus School in Bay Saint Louis, Miss., to an undefeated season during his senior year in 1941 and was recruited by Army and Notre Dame, among others.

"At that point in time, I really wasn't interested. Academically, I never was too hot, so I never had any idea I would pass the entrance examination and go to West Point."

Hope for us all.