Julian Blackmon had a single Division I offer after graduating from Utah’s Layton High School in 2016. But the lone option to go play at the University of Utah was all he needed to prove that he belonged in a future NFL locker room.
Chris Ballard saw the potential in the former three-star recruit by making Blackmon his third-round selection in the virtualized 2020 NFL Draft. According to early draft boards, Blackmon had been rated higher before an ACL injury suffered against the Oregon Ducks sidelined him in the Pac-12 Championship game. This caused him to miss the NFL combine.
But since that point, Blackmon has continued the grind of getting back to top shape. And right now with the Colts at 3-1 heading into Week 5, plus the fact that Indianapolis has given up the least total yards among any NFL defense, the energetic but “introverted” Blackmon is looking like a mid-round steal. He picked up his first NFL interception off of Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles last week.
The new Colts safety hopped on The Dan Dakich Show Friday afternoon to chat with DD about the start to his rookie season.
“You had guys at (Utah) who were four or five stars and then there’s me who’s kind of like a no star, so I was doubted there,” Blackmon said. “It humbles you and reminds you of where you come from.”
Blackmon has jumped in, bought in, and now is relishing in Matt Eberflus‘ defensive core. Following the ACL injury, which sometimes sidelines athletes for a full year, Blackmon committed to the rehab process and is now back on the field less than 10 months later. He told Dan that he has always quickly healed from injuries.
“It all depends on how your rehab goes,” Blackmon added. “You have to make sure that you truly do feel well and good enough to play.”
Through his first four professional games, Blackmon has already been matched up against the likes of star wide receivers Adam Thielen, Allen Robinson, and Jamison Crowder. But this coming Sunday’s test will feature both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. running downfield for the Cleveland Browns. He said he’s continuing to learn every week.
“I’m just trying to get better everyday,” Blackmon explained. “There’s always learning curves and the main thing is watching the guys in front of me, making sure I’m doing what they’re doing, and trying to comprehend the defense as quickly as possible.”
Blackmon and the Colts defense will have a tough task in stopping the Baker Mayfield led offense of the Browns, as star linebacker Darius Leonard has been ruled out to play Sunday. Cleveland put up 49 points in a win last week at Dallas.
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