Blackmon Excited to Get Started at BYU

BYU's offense is going to be full of speed in 2014. Not only did BYU beat out many of the Pac-12 for Nick Kurtz's services, but the Cougar coaching staff also won over the services of one of the fastest wide receiver prospects in the nation out of the junior college ranks in Devon Blackmon. Blackmon is excited to get going at BYU and reunite with an old friend.

Devon Blackmon didn't attend the big official recruit weekend the last weekend of January. Instead, he came a week earlier (January 24th) by himself but had a great time touring the campus and meeting with the coaches none the less. It was during that time he committed to Coach Mendenhall but kept it quite until signing day. Blackmon chose BYU over Utah, Fresno State, and Boise State, among others.

"I'm excited about BYU but you know it's going to be kind of different," said Blackmon. "When I went there I did have a great time and everyone knows what BYU brings to the table. When I went there I found what I expected and that's why I wanted to be a part of it."

Majoring in communications, Blackmon found that BYU provided an incredible opportunity with the new state of the art, 100,000-square-foot high tech Broadcasting Building and Information Technology Building, which- for the first time in BYU's history- houses the all of the university's radio and television stations under one roof.

"The best part about my trip was the communications department and touring the Broadcasting Building when I was there," Blackmon said. "I really enjoyed that part. The Broadcasting Building was really nice and we toured everything and that really helped me with my choice. It was really cool. BYU has their own TV network and that was one deciding factor [for me] besides the coaching staff and from a football standpoint."

While on Blackmon's official visit to BYU he had a chance to visit with many members of the coaching staff to learn more about his future role within the program.

"When I was there they seemed like a great group of guys," said Blackmon. "You know, Coach Anae was really a cool guy and I really liked him. Coach Holliday and Coach Mendenhall are also really great men and I enjoyed being around them as well. When I was up there I wasn't really up there to see how the coaches acted because I was on an official visit. I was more up there to see what they expected of me and what they expected of their program. I wanted to see what they had envisioned from me and how we were going to go forward kind of thing."

Out of high school Blackmon was an All-American wide receiver who ended up signing with Oregon. A four-star recruit who needed to go through a maturation process, Blackmon left Oregon to attend Riverside Community College to further prepare himself for the division one level.

"I just feel like at Oregon I was fresh out of high school and a little immature," said Blackmon. "I was enjoying life and not taking care of responsibilities like I should have. I was just kind of caught up in the moment and not staying focused on the reason why I was there and why I really came there. I need to be at a place where I can stay focused and get my education and move forward towards the dreams I'm chasing."

BYU is a place where there are less of those social distractions and where Blackmon can have the structure to stay focused towards those goals, both on and off the field. When it comes to attending BYU, Blackmon is looking forward to joining the football team.

"Yeah, that's the one thing I'm most excited about," he said. "I'm really looking forward to football season and getting [started]."

Playing football isn't the only plan Blackmon has while attending BYU. He also wants to put his speed to good use on BYU's track team potentially.

"I'm also looking forward to track season because I also want to run track when I'm there," he said. "I've been thinking about running track again and that's something I want to do. I haven't spoken to Coach Mendenhall yet about it but I will once the season is over. It all depends on how the season goes too. I also need to go talk to the track coach about it as well."

Prior to signing day Blackmon flew out to Africa to visit with members of his family on his father's side of the family, whom he had never met before, living in Lagos, Nigeria.

"It was a great experience and really made me grateful for what I have here in America," said Blackmon. "It was great being able to see my cousins and family members that I've never seen before. I met many of my family for the first time when I was there and got to experience a lot of their culture."

Lagos is located on the upper west coast of Nigeria on the Gulf of Guinea. Blackmon saw how his family and the people of Nigeria live and was grateful for what he has in America.

"When I was out there it was very different and they're not modernized like we are here in America," Blackmon said. "It was just very different. You get to see all the different facial features and some of the Africans are light skinned with blue eyes. I saw some with blond hair and just different aspects to them. I was like, ‘Wow!' because it was an eye opening experience. It was amazing for me to see how third world Africa really is. The electricity wasn't that good and it was pitch black around seven o'clock and that's something I'm not used to back home. They don't have street lights like we do here. It's a lot different that's for sure."

The standard of living for those in Nigeria is an everyday grind, and Blackmon received an eye opening education of just how much he truly has been given now that he has a chance to go to BYU and receive an outstanding education in the field of his choice.

"Every day it was a hustle," Blackmon said. "You know, you got kids walking to school at ages three and four. You've got grown men out in the streets trying to sell their products for the day. [They were selling] things like bread, juices, calling cards, fabric, sandals and merchandise just to make ends meet. It just made me want to do the best that I could so I could give back to my family in Africa. It just inspired me and motivated me so that one day I could give back to them. It just made me grateful for what I have and what lies ahead of me."

Now back from Africa, Blackmon is now looking forward to heading out to BYU this summer where he'll be reunited with his high school teammate Jamaal Williams. Blackmon is excited to meet up again with Williams who he's known since his childhood days.

"It's going to be kind of different because Jamaal's a leader out there and this is his team, so I'm just going to follow his example until I get the hang of everything," said Blackmon. "I'm excited to get out there and get going though, especially to get out there with him because we played together in high school. It's going to be a great experience for me."

Devon Blackmon believes his skills set will mesh well with those of his childhood friend Jamaal Williams. He also believes that they will be a welcome addition to Robert Anae's up-tempo offense.

"It's going to be dangerous, unpredictable, explosive, and a nightmare for defenses," Blackmon said. "Not only are they going to have to try and stop our running game, but now the passing game as well with the guys we've got coming [in]. It's going to be explosive and I can't wait to get out there."

Blackmon's head coach at Riverside CC feels BYU is adding a more mature, polished player who could possibly play multiple roles on their roster

"The thing that really sticks out with him is he has great speed and great acceleration," said RCC Head Coach Tom Craft. "When he went up to Oregon he was a highly recruited athlete who played quarterback. He didn't get to compete right away. I think he went into the redshirt procedure, but he came to RCC and was our most improved receiver. He's got great ball skills and great kick return abilities as well."

Coach Craft believes that BYU made a good addition to their roster in adding Blackmon and he thinks that Blackmon is on the cusp of doing big things.

"I think BYU is a good choice for Devon. I don't think you recruit a junior college player unless you need an immediate need for a player. What Devon brings is great speed. Having been at a four year school like Oregon, and having gone through some of those adjustments emotionally, I think he'll be a lot more prepared to be more successful at BYU now. I think he's developed into a great practice player here, and developed some good qualities, and he'll be ready to do some great things up there at BYU."

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