Former Utah Utes safety Julian Blackmon is looking towards the upcoming NFL Draft but will do so after overcoming some obstacles during the 2019 season.
KSL Sports host and former Utah and NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell saw a lot of great things from Blackmon during the past season.
It hasn’t always been easy for Blackmon after making the move from cornerback where he played that position for three seasons before moving over to safety as a senior.
After overcoming that challenge, Blackmon suffered a torn ACL in the first half of the Pac-12 Championship game against Oregon, a game that Utah lost.
“It was tragic,” Mitchell told Jeremiah Jensen on SportsBeat. “Because at the time of the (Pac-12) championship game and I think it had the biggest factor and impact that Utah had in not playing well as anything because he was playing really good football. He was one of those elite safeties from the University of Utah. Blackmon was really impressive to me in making the transition but not only did he make the transition but he was one of the top flight players in the conference.”
Could He Make Transition?
Blackmon made the switch from cornerback to safety when Marquise Blair and Corrion Ballard graduated and went on to the NFL. The Layton, Utah native filled a big void while the cornerback position was deep as well.
Mitchell felt that Blackmon and the secondary for Utah wasn’t tested in non-conference but they were immediately challenged in the Pac-12 opener against USC. That had Mitchell concerned for a week after the loss.
“When Utah went to USC, you saw how tough the position change was,” Mitchell said. “But the next week, Utah played Washington State. Julian Blackmon literally made the transition the next week after the USC game.”
Strengths In Blackmon’s Game
After making the transition from cornerback to safety which turned Blackmon into an All-American in his senior season, Mitchell believes that he has enough traits to have an NFL career.
“He shows range,” Mitchell stated. “That’s what you want from a free safety, is a guy who stays deep and plays up to the ball and not chasing it from behind. He is a guy who can show you that he can make plays because all of the safeties at Utah showed ability like Marquise Blair and Marcus Williams. Julian has that ability.”
Another strength that Mitchell pointed out was making big plays.
“Defense is all about making plays,” Mitchell mentioned. “It’s a huge thing when you turn the ball over. Julian Blackmon time after time this year made plays and were big turning point plays for Utah.”