Former UTEP Football Player & NFL Veteran Debuts Book ‘Little Zilla’s Big Wait’
Former UTEP defensive back Antwon "Valentino" Blake has been busy off the field since he wrapped up his career in the NFL. Aside from being an entrepreneur and working in his own automotive business, Blake has become an author with his debut children's book "Little Zilla's Big Wait," published by Williams Commerce.
The book is available across multiple platforms and currently ranks No. 4 in Children's Football Books (Books) and No. 10 in Football (Books) on Amazon. Over the weekend, the book charted at No. 1 on Amazon.
"Fourteen years before Author, Entrepreneur, and retired NFL veteran, Antwon Blake, made his NFL debut with his home state team the Jacksonville Jaguars, he faced a hurdle with getting his football career started as a child. At first glance, it is natural to assume that “Little Zilla’s Big Wait” is about a child becoming a professional football player, but Antwon Blake’s first children’s book signifies much more. Overcoming one of his first obstacles in life would have been impossible without the support he received from his family and friends, and going after what he loved the most. This method can be used by any child, no matter what their dreams are. Devoted father, Antwon Blake, believes that children's dreams are at their fingertips if they follow the dreams in their hearts and receive support from their loved ones." - Little Zilla's Big Wait
Blake starred for the Miners during the Mike Price era (2008-11), where he totaled 137 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles and an interception. He started every game both his junior and senior seasons.
Upon his graduation from UTEP, Blake signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2012. After spending a season with his hometown club, he was released in 2013 and was claimed by the Pittsburgh Steelers off waivers. Pittsburgh is where Blake earned a roster spot and worked his way onto the field. He snagged his first interception during a week 8 game against the Colts, picking off Andrew Luck (2014).
His best season came in 2015 with the Steelers, totaling three interceptions as a starting cornerback and finishing with 77 total tackles, 11 pass breakups and 5.0 tackles for loss. Blake signed with the Titans during the next offseason (2016) and reunited with former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau. With the Titans, Blake finished with 47 total tackles and five passes defended. After the season, he spent a brief period with the Giants (2017) before he was released. Blake announced his retirement on September 5, 2017.
Teaming up with Ross Williams of Williams Commerce made it possible for Blake to release his debut children's book, "Little Zilla's Big Wait." The story details the challenges he faced growing up and talks about his rise to being an eventual NFL cornerback.
Both Blake and Williams will join SportsTalk for a special interview to talk about the book's release. For more information on purchasing the book, click here.