Blackmon Excited to Finish Strong
Given his star status on the University of Utah football team the past four years, it seems strange that Julian Blackmon’s first major splash in the state came on the basketball floor.
The year was 2015 and he was a junior on the Layton basketball team, playing alongside brother Jarriesse for the Lancers.
In the basketball title game at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Julian and Jarriesse were part of the swarm on the floor after Layton secured a memorable 48-46 win over Brighton. The brothers played a significant role in the title.
As he reveled in the media interviews and celebration at that moment, it almost felt like Blackmon, who also ran track in the spring, might play basketball, perhaps alongside Jarriesse who would go on to play for UC-Santa Barbara.
That thought also could have been reinforced his senior season when Blackmon was hurt early in the football season and did not achieve great notoriety.
Much to the delight of Utah football fans, though, he was on the Utah football coaching staff’s radar. They would recruit him, offer him a scholarship and he would become almost an immediate impact player, although his first year was also trial-by-fire.
Blackmon became a two-time All-Pac-12 cornerback who would move to safety his senior season. He earned MVP honors of the Heart of Dallas Bowl as a sophomore and has missed few games since his freshmen season.
He also thrived in the classroom, earning a criminal justice degree and receiving an honorable mention on the Pac-12 All-Academic team.
“I wanted to take advantage and get a degree so I would have that in my pocket,” he said.
After two impressive seasons in a row, there was some doubt that Blackmon would return for his senior season. However, like the rest of Utah’s talented 2018 underclassmen, Blackmon stayed to build something special.
“It’s been fun,” he reflected after a recent practice. “I am excited about the process. It has been fun playing with my guys. The reason I came back was the relationship that I built with those guys.”
While it is perhaps too early to totally look back on his Ute career, Blackmon is pretty sure two memories will stand out.
“Probably having two pick-sixes in back-to-back years against BYU will be my favorite memories,” he smiled. And least anyone forget, those were against his distant cousin, Zach Wilson.
Blackmon admits, playing in the secondary is not always easy. You can play well an entire game but making one mistake can end up costing the Utes a touchdown and a game.
The work involves focusing on all the signals and watching hours of film of the opposing team, something that paid off recently as Blackmon helped shut down a high-flying Washington State offense.
Finally, the popular and likable Utah senior seems happy he picked a school close to friends and family to attend.
“It’s been really fun having family here,” he said. “It’s easier for them to come to the games. I am comfortable with the people I grew up with being all around me.”
And Utah’s football family is fortunate to have had Blackmon on the field helping his hometown school be built into a Pac-12 power, the past four seasons.
As the final chapter is yet to be closed, fans can count on their “Hometown Hero,” to make sure this 2019 squad is one that won’t be easily forgotten.