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51 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Shadryon Blanka

In which BracketCat counts down the 51st day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State linebacker Shadryon Blanka.

#51 Ulla Pomele
Ron Prince-era players Ulla Pomele (51) and Justin Roland popularized this jersey number 15 years ago. Now it’s been inherited by Shadryon Blanka.
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

#51 Shadryon Blanka

Redshirt Freshman | 6-1 | 213 lbs. | St. Francis, Kansas
Shadryon Blanka
Shadryon Blanka
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Linebacker
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Scout Team
  • Status: Preferred Walk-On

Shadryon “Shady” Blanka (b. Feb. 23, 2003) is a walk-on linebacker from St. Francis Community High School in the town of the same name who redshirted during 2022.

Blanka, who is majoring in animal sciences and industry, prepped under head coach Nick Fawcett at St. Francis, where he totaled 272 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks over his three-year varsity career.

He very nearly hit the 100-tackle mark as a junior with 98 stops to help the Indians to earn a trip to the state finals. (Learn more about his 8-man career in this article.)

Blanka was named the 2020 8-Man Division II Offensive Player of the Year as a senior by both The Wichita Eagle and Sports in Kansas after rushing for 2,280 yards and 35 touchdowns. He was the leading rusher in Kansas and No. 2 nationally at the 8-man level.

A first-team all-state performer and rated one of the top 33 players in the state of Kansas in 2020 by The Topeka Capital-Journal, Blanka also was named a first-team all-state performer at running back as both a junior and senior by The Wichita Eagle, while the latter publication also voted him an all-state honoree at linebacker as a senior.

He rushed for 1,694 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, ranking second in the state and 34th nationally in rushing at the 8-man level, and also competed in wrestling, finishing third in the 2020 state meet, as well as track and field.

Blanka is the son of Shawn and Shawna Blanka, both of whom also attended Kansas State.