Freshman Blackmon Ready To Get It Started

Incoming freshman Tray Blackmon talks about the adjustment to college football and his expectations for the fall.

Auburn, Ala.–-One of the nation's top linebackers is officially an Auburn Tiger and no one is happier than Tray Blackmon himself. As a senior he was all-everything for LaGrange (Ga.) High as the Grangers won the state championship and Blackmon earned All-American honors. Now entering his first two-a-days at Auburn after spending much of the summer on campus, Blackmon says that he's anxious to get things started.

"I'm glad this day is here," Blackmon says about Monday's reporting day for freshmen. "This summer was very important for me. I think it's going to play a big part in my success at Auburn, getting me prepared for the lifestyle and making the transition from high school to college. Dealing with school and practice and all that, coming here in the summer gave me a chance to see what goes on in college life and help me be more prepared for it come this fall."

A workout warrior at LaGrange, the 6-0, 198 Blackmon has been busy this summer while getting adjusted to his new life in Auburn. In addition to his activities in the Bridge Program that helps incoming students get part-time jobs while attending classes, Blackmon also got introduced to life with Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Yoxall. He says that while it was a tough adjustment, it was just what he was looking for in the weight room.

"I came in expecting the worst," Blackmon says. "By coming here I'm glad we've got a coach like Coach Yox that's not going to let you sell yourself short and make sure you get the best out of your workout. If you're going to do it why not to it to the best of your abilities and 100 percent."

Blackmon is expected to make an immediate impact as a freshman.

Expected to start two-a-days at Will (weakside) linebacker behind senior Antarrious Williams, Blackmon will be able to draw on plenty of experience from both A.T and fellow senior Travis Williams in the middle. He says that having such good players in front of him is exciting as a freshman coming into the program, a program that has proven size doesn't mean everything on the football field.

"They're very helpful in the transition to college," Blackmon says. "A.T. has been coaching me up and most veteran guys wouldn't be fond of helping the upcoming guys. I'm very appreciative that they take the time out of their lives and schedules to make sure I have a smooth transition. By seeing them do it and be undefeated in the SEC definitely gives me a chance to go out there as an undersized linebacker and make a big impact on the game on defense"

One of the most feared hitters in the country last season, Blackmon is a fierce competitor that plays much bigger than his size would indicate. He says that fans will hopefully enjoy watching his style of play in the seasons to come. "They're going to see a player that plays with emotion," he says. "I'm very physical and run around. I'm also very coachable and I just try to make plays whenever I'm in the position to make them."

Being coachable is one trait of a player under coach Joe Whitt. Auburn's longest tenured coach dating back to the days of Pat Dye, Whitt has a long list of players that have gone on to be successful in the NFL. Blackmon says that having the chance to play for Whitt is something he's really looking forward to while at Auburn.

"Coach Whitt has a tradition here at Auburn of putting many players from the linebacker position in the league," Blackmon says. "I'm confident that he knows what he's doing. He's a great coach and I just plan to let him coach me up, go hard and give 100 percent."

Because of a wealth of talent at linebacker for the Tigers this fall there is a chance that Blackmon might not get on the field as early or as often as most have predicted. With a solid corps of back-ups in Karibi Dede, Chris Evans, Merrill Johnson and Courtney Harden, Blackmon knows he's got his work cut out for him to make some noise in two-a-days.

"I feel like I have a good chance to get in on special teams and also get in some reps at linebacker," Blackmon says. "If not I plan to work hard and redshirt and try to get better and prepare for the next year."

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