Five-Star Linebacker Talks Recruiting

This highly touted linebacker prospect talks about the colleges he is hearing from, the recruiting process and names three early favorites.

LaGrange, Ga.--For those of you that have been covering or following recruiting since the early 1990s or for those of you that actually saw Derrick Brooks play high school football, there's a player among the Class of 2005 that reminds you of the former USA Today Defensive Player of the Year. That player – Tray Blackmon.

Like Brooks Blackmon is an undersized linebacker with tremendous speed, quickness and hitting ability. He's an instinctual, explosive defensive player that makes plays all over the field.

Last season as a junior he lead the Grangers to a Class 3A State Championship. Along the way he racked up 116 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one safety, and one defensive touchdown.

To be compared to a future Hall of Famer, a NFL All-Pro, a former Defensive MVP and Florida State All-American in Derrick Brooks is very humbling to Mr. Blackmon.

"Recruiting has been a new experience," Blackmon said . "It's exciting. Several coaches, especially the ones at Florida State, have said that I play like Derrick Brooks. That's big and I know that. I can't get the big head. I have to stay focused, stay humble and stay on my goals."

Blackmon, who measures in at 6-0 and 192 pounds, is currently a five-star recruit according to TheInsiders.com, the No. 11 overall prospect in the country and the No. 2 rated linebacker prospect in the nation. He's also the top rated prospect from the Peach State.

Tray Blackmon is shown at Auburn's 7-7 passsing camp earlier this summer.

This summer, Blackmon camped at nearby Auburn and Florida State. "They were both a good time and a good experience," he noted.

Both the Tigers and Noles find themselves atop Blackmon's wish list. But the team to beat could be the home state Bulldogs, after the linbacker said he has has always dreamed of wearing the red and black.

"I have always wanted to play for Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons," Blackmon explained. "That has been my dream for a long time now. I have talked with the coaches and have seen how they work with the players.

"They have a great staff and campus," Blackmon added. "Bruce (Thornton) has also given me some great feedback about the program. It's weird because I don't really feel pressure now to go there and in the end I will pick the best place for me and it may not be UGA."

Other serious contenders for Blackmon are Kentucky, LSU and Mississippi State, in addition to UGA, FSU and Auburn. And according to Blackmon three things will be a keys to his decision – academics, the relationship with the coaches and players and the campus environment.

"I talk with the coaches at Kentucky a lot," the LaGrange standout said. "I have a real good chance at early playing time there, I like the coaches and my former teammate Wesley Woodyard in there. If I went to Kentucky that would be real positive for me and Wesley.

"I have talked with the LSU coaches and they seem real cool and it seems like you can really trust them, Blackmon added. "I need to really check them out so more."

Blackmon had some good things to say about the other schools he is interested in as well.

"I have talked with some players and former players about Mississippi State," he said. "They say good things and I have been communicating a lot with them.

"Auburn is a school that's so close to my house and LaGrange," Blackmon explained. "I have been there a lot and they have some real good coaches.

"I love how the FSU coaches push you and don't you the players sell themselves short. I love the campus and they have a great stadium."

As for a favorite, Blackmon says he really has three at this point in time. "I would say that Georgia, FSU and Auburn are my favorites right now."

Blackmon is currently in the middle of two-a-days. LaGrange has their first scrimmage Friday night and open up the season against rival Newnan on August 20th.


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