"John brings a unique blend of college and pro experience to North Carolina," says Davis. "He has experience as a Division I head coach and is known throughout the country as a terrific recruiter and teacher. I had the pleasure working with John when we were both assistants for the Cowboys, and his commitment to excellence both on and off the field is unmatched."
"I'm excited to be working with Coach Davis again," says Blake. "We won a lot of games together in Dallas, succeeding on the highest level. I look forward to doing the same thing at North Carolina. I'm thrilled to bring my family to Chapel Hill."
Many observers consider Blake to be the nation's top recruiter. Nebraska's 2005 class was considered by most recruiting analysts to be one of the top five in the country. His role in helping bring some of the country's most talented players to Lincoln led to Blake's inclusion as a finalist for National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com. He also was responsible for recruiting the majority of starters on Oklahoma's 2000 national championship team.
Blake was hired as Nebraska's defensive line coach in 2004, and the Huskers ranked second in the Big 12 and 11th nationally in rushing defense that season. Nebraska allowed just 104.0 yards rushing per game, including a league-low 2.9 yards per attempt. In 2005, Nebraska's defense ranked in the top 30 nationally in all four major defensive categories, including being the top-ranked unit in the country for sacks and tackles for loss. This year, Nebraska was 9-4 during the regular season and accepted an invitation to play Auburn in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007. Blake also coached in the Huskers' 32-28 win over Michigan in the 2005 Alamo Bowl.
Prior to his stint at Nebraska, Blake served one season as Mississippi State's defensive line coach in 2003. He was the director of a professional developmental camp called "A Chance To Advance Football Camp" for four years before joining MSU. Among his clients were Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking, New Orleans Saints defense end Darren Howard and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney.
A native of Rockford, Ill., Blake played for Switzer at Oklahoma from 1979-82 where he earned All-Big Eight honors at nose guard. He later returned to his alma mater to serve as head coach of the Sooners from 1996-98.
At Oklahoma, Blake began as a student assistant working with the defensive line in 1985 and earned a national championship ring that season. The Sooners lost just two games during his first tenure on the staff.
Blake's first full-time assistant position was at Tulsa from 1987-88, where he coached the tight ends and wide receivers. He returned to his alma mater in 1989 as the Sooners' defensive line coach, and then served as Gary Gibbs' linebackers coach from 1990 to 1992.
After Johnson hired Blake in Dallas, five players made the Pro Bowl during his three seasons. Blake's defensive line was considered one of the best in the NFL during his tenure. Among others, Blake tutored pro bowlers Charles Haley, Russell Maryland and Leon Lett.
Blake, 45, earned his bachelor's degree in public relations and recreation from Oklahoma in 1986. He and his wife, Freda, have one son, Jourdan.