2021 | Ohio State | Brewster Academy
There are definitely split allegiances in the Blake family, but Henry Blake always found himself on the same side as his grandfather.
The elder Blake, Jerry, attended Ohio State and was a defenseman on the Buckeyes’ club team until his graduation in 1960. His father and Henry’s father, Todd, attended Vanderbilt for undergrad, which was fine for a very pro-Buckeye family… until he went to Michigan to attend the school’s prestigious business school.
Despite his father’s allegiance, there was never any doubt as to which side of the rivalry the Leading Edge 2021 and Brewster Academy (N.H.) goalie found himself on.
“I grew up living the tradition the Buckeye way and cheering for them,” Blake said. “I just grew up around all of the emotion and the tradition that revolve around the school. All of my cousins are Buckeye fans, too.”
When Blake started to talk with the Buckeyes, he had an inkling that he might end up following the family tradition – sorry, Dad – and when Ohio State head coach Nick Myers zeroed in on him as the Buckeyes’ goalie for the class fo 2021, Blake didn’t take long to decide that Columbus was the place for him.
“I took a visit there in eighth grade before the recruiting rule changes, and ever since then, it’s been in set in my brain that it was a possibility,” Blake said. “It’s been a dream of mine and a target for me to become a Buckeye.”
Blake will be one of the very few players who get to live out their dream by playing for their childhood favorite after he opted to join the Buckeyes’ class. He’s the first Leading Edge ’21 to commit and the first player from the program to become a Buckeye since 2011 alumnus Rick Lewis, now an assistant coach at Army. It’s the first time in Leading Edge history that goalies have committed to either an ACC or Big Ten school in back-to-back years after ’20 Evan Barr (Somerville) committed to Duke.
“I visited on a Saturday when the football team was away, and there was still so much emotion and excitement and I could just feel the whole student body’s emotion for the school,” Blake said. “The coaches at Ohio State are so down to earth and just some of the best guys. They’re all about hard work, being blue-collar and competing year in and year out. It’s one of the big reasons I chose it, because I want to win a championship.”
A Northern California native, Blake transferred to Brewster a season ago, then joined Leading Edge’s stacked group of ’21s in an effort to take his game to the next level. Admittedly, it’s never easy to be the new guy on the block, but his play and personality endeared him to the team, and it helped kickstart a meteoric rise in his game.
“I joined not knowing anybody on the team, but I knew that I’d play for a team that could compete for a championship every weekend, and I’m playing with and against the best players in the country, which pushed me to become the best player I can be,” Blake said. “At the NLF Opening Weekend, we lost in the semis, but I feel like we were the best team there. We beat some of the very best teams in the nation, and I knew that I was playing with the best in the country and competing against the best.”
Blake makes his bones as an excellent communicator and commander of the defense, and he has a penchant for pushing transition with quick, accurate outlet passes after gobbling up the save. That style of play will fit in well with Myers’ philosophy, as will his personality and the type of person that he is.
“Having Henry join us this summer really helped solidify a great 1-2 punch in the cage with Noah D’Andrea, and he showed us right away that he had the physical ability and mental makeup of a big-time Division I goalie,” Leading Edge director Chris Roy said. “Henry has always pushed himself to be the best possible goalie that he can be, and I think that Coach Myers should be stoked to add not only a goalie of his caliber, but a person of his caliber whose work ethic rubs off on others. I’m excited to see what’s in store for Henry in Columbus.”
At least most of the family won’t have to change allegiances, too.