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Blount’s wait is over

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Dustin Blount caught a 41-yard touchdown pass against Charleston Southern.
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His surname’s pronunciation and his personality are "blunt."

And now, after two years of bite-the-mouthpiece waiting, Dustin Blount is poised to be part of the Hawaii football playbook’s lexicon.

Offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich said Blount is deserving of playing time — whether at slotback or left wideout, where starter Rodney Bradley’s availability is "questionable" for Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech. Bradley is suffering from a strained hamstring.

If Blount is frustrated about his playing time — he has appeared in five games since transferring from Compton Community College in August 2008 — it is masked by his easy smile.

"I don’t show it, basically," Blount said. "I stay positive. When my time comes, it comes."

There was a sampling last Saturday, when he caught four passes for 71 yards and his first UH touchdown in a 66-7 rout of Charleston Southern.

"It wasn’t that big of a deal for me," Blount said, noting CSU plays in a lower-classification division. "I was happy the coaches knew I could go in there and perform."

David Graves, who threw the screen pass that became Blount’s 41-yard touchdown, said: "Dustin is a great player. It’s too bad he plays behind All-Americans (Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares). He definitely has big-play capabilities. He has a great attitude, a great outlook on life. I have a lot of respect for him."

Blount has endured a series of obstacles in Manoa. He was held out of the first three games of 2008 while waiting for his junior college transcripts to be processed. By the time he was cleared, "I decided to redshirt," he said.

In the summer of 2009, he went back to Los Angeles to take care of a family matter. Because he did not have access to a computer, he had to take an "incomplete" for an online class. When he finished the work, the fall semester had started. He then suffered a partially torn hamstring. He played four games last year. "It was a bad year," he said.

But he refused to be discouraged. "The love of the game keeps me going," Blount said, "and my father."

Johnnie Ree Blount Jr. was a single father of four.

"To me, he was the greatest guy in the world," Dustin Blount said. "He made so many sacrifices for his family."

In 2005, before the start of Blount’s senior year, his father died of "natural causes." Blount and his two younger brothers went to live with their grandmother; the eldest brother, Nathaniel, already was on his own.

"My father never got to see me play as a (high school) senior," Blount said "He never got to see me play in college."

But his father fostered one wish. "He wanted me to go to college," Blount said.

Blount said he is on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in December.

"I’m playing football for my father," Blount said, "and I’m getting a degree for my family. I’m going to be the first one in my family (to earn a college degree). That means a lot."

 

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