The first time I saw his film, I almost had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It's not like I haven't seen players as good as Blackmon or even better, but there was one area where Blackmon matched up as well with all that I have seen.
With a ferocity that you will seldom see, Blackmon was shooting gaps, anticipating counts, catching players from behind and basically being a major pain in the backside to whoever he faced. In fact, Blackmon was so aggressive, you had to wonder if he could read the plays as they happened because he made sure the plays were over before they even had a chance to start.
And that's just part of the reason Blackmon has been getting offers hand over fist. Enough that as Blackmon recites them, he trails off trying to recall them all. "Let'see, there's Auburn, Georgia, Nebraska, Kentucky, USC, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee and there's more, but I can't remember them all right now."
We'll allow a little latitude for that as with the increased attention, sometimes it's hard to just recall them all at a moment's notice.
But, what makes this Georgia standout, stand out? Sure, there's aggression, but what inspires that kind of effort, that kind of off-the-hinges mentality? "It's about playing the game like it's the last game you are ever going to play." Tray said. "You never know what's going to happen the next game, the next day or even the next play. So, I play every single down like that's the last down for me."
"The next game or whatever, I might not be able to play, so I want people to remember the last play I was in."
You might think that's a rather dolorous way of thinking, but one can hardly argue with the results. And, for Blackmon's coach, that aggression is how you start in trying to be the playmaking type of machine Blackmon is. "My coach always says that you can know everything about defense there is, but if you aren't aggressive, it doesn't do any good." Tray said. "He says that if you give everything you have and that effort is always there, the rest isn't that hard."
What's going to be hard is making a decision, because though Tray is in the midst of one great football tradition after another, he's very open to every school as to what is right for him. In fact, that school where he feels the most "right" will be where he ends up. "It's got to be a good program with good coaches and a chance to play early." he said. "But, I guess it has to feel like that's where I want to be. It has to feel like home because that's what it will be for me for awhile."
Blackmon is listing no favorites right now and says that he might take some unofficial visits this year, but will probably stay in the southern region for those. As for his decision, you might as well just enjoy his last season, because his decision is likely to come after that. "I'm not in a hurry." Tray said. "I'm going to take all my visits and figure it out after that."
So, in the meantime, it's a matter of getting ready for his final season as a prep. That won't be hard for Tray and this isn't the time to grab playbooks, stare at film and evaluate the competition. This is a time where he's getting ready to do just one thing.
Turn the switch on.
After that, let the aggression continue. "The last season for me is like any other season or game." he said. "You don't hold back, you don't let up and you don't stop until it's all over. That's the way I am. You just don't stop."
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619