Bluechip Recruit Checking Out Tigers

One of the country's top high school seniors discusses his opportunity to check out Tommy Tuberville's Tigers this weekend.

LaGrange, Ga.--For Tray Blackmon football recruiting crunch time has been no sweat as he prepares for his official visit to Auburn this weekend.

The prospect rated as Scout.com's number one high school senior linebacker in the entire country made his choice to sign with Auburn on Nov. 29, selecting the Tigers over the Georgia Bulldogs and a variety of other scholarship offers.

Blackmon tells Inside the Auburn Tigers he is glad he made an early decision. "It is comfortable now," he says. "I can focus on school."

The linebacker says he wants to be ready to get to campus as soon as possible. After graduating from LaGrange High School in the spring he plans to come to Auburn early in the summer to get a head start on preparations for the 2005 season.

Tray Blackmon was named 2004 player of the year in Georgia.

This weekend, he is part of Auburn's largest official visit weekend of this recruiting season as the Tigers prepare for the Feb. 2nd national signing day.

"I am looking forward to seeing a lot of players I will be playing with next season as well as a lot of the recruits who are coming in this weekend," he says. "I want to get a chance to talk to the coaches and get a feel for the atmosphere of the campus."

Blackmon says he hasn't decided what he would like to major in as a collegian. "I am interested in business as well as drafting and architecture, and I have even thought that I might like to get into coaching," he says.

The highly regarded recruit earned a reputation as a tremendous athlete and fierce competitor early in his high school playing days. He has helped the Grangers win three state titles.

Jamie Newberg, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, says the Tigers have a recruiting gem in Blackmon. "Tray is one of the fastest and more ferocious linebackers I have seen in the 13 seasons I have covered recruiting. He really reminds me of two former stars from the state of Florida--Derrick Brooks and Nathaniel Webster.

"Like Webster and Brooks, Blackmon is a tad undersized to play linebacker, but he makes up for it in every other area. He has unreal closing speed and is a big-time hitter. Blackmon is also sound against the run and pass and should be an every down linebacker in college. This is a super pickup for Auburn."

Blackmon is working out with weights this winter to improve his strength. He bench presses 330 pounds, squats 450 and power cleans 300.

In the spring he plans to work on his speed. "I may run sprints for our school track team," he says. "I have done it before, but not since ninth grade."

With a best 40-yard dash clocking of 4.49 seconds, he should be a natural in track.

Following the unbeaten senior season, he performed well in the Georgia North-South All-Star Game in Columbus. He says that was a good experience playing with outstanding players from around the state. "That was a lot of fun," he says.

Blackmon says his senior football season was a special one. "I couldn't ask for more."


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