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Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

BYU receiver Devon Blackmon excited to make a big 2nd impression

By Brandon Gurney, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Sept. 3 9:31 p.m. MDT

 Devon Blackmon poses for a photo at BYU in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.

Devon Blackmon poses for a photo at BYU in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.

(Kristin Murphy, Kristin Murphy)

PROVO — Devon Blackmon's career at BYU didn't exactly start out with a bang.

An unspecified mistake, a one-game suspension, and then an unfortunate tweet announcing as much weren't exactly what fans, coaches, and particularly Blackmon himself envisioned after he signed on with the program as an uncommonly gifted athlete out of junior college.

Blackmon served his suspension last week against UConn and hopes to move on fast after learning his lesson.

“You don’t announce team consequences on the social media because that causes more negative attention to the team,” Blackmon said about the lesson he learned. “That was my fault. I don’t want to cause negative attention to the team — just a positive light on everybody.”

With his lesson learned, Blackmon now looks forward to making a big contribution when the team takes on Texas this Saturday. Given his athletic credentials, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound speedster could contribute heavily.

Blackmon arrived at BYU a gifted athlete who originally signed with Oregon out of Fontana (California) High. After playing just one year for the Ducks, he left school and caught on with Riverside Community College before signing with the Cougars.

According to Blackmon, it's been three long years since he played competitive football, and as a result, he's obviously anxious for the opportunity against Texas.

“I’m looking forward to the excitement and seeing the fans, making plays for the team, and contributing the best way I can,” Blackmon said. “I’m looking forward overall to a great team win. ... I don’t know what to expect, but I’m going to give it my all.”

Blackmon also intends to give it his all off the field as well while at BYU. Ever since his initial mistake, he's met frequently with BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall to help acclimate himself better to the school's unique social and academic environment.

“I go to (Mendenhall) every day to ask what I’m doing … just because I don’t want to mess up and cause a detriment to the team like I did against Uconn,” Blackmon said.

Another person helping Blackmon adjust is his former high school teammate and good friend, Jamaal Williams.

“I’m like his older brother off the field when we go back home, but up here he’s like my older brother,” Blackmon said of Williams. “He’s teaching me the ropes, so it’s different. I just sit back and listen to him. I’m just proud of him and the person he’s become.”

Blackmon admits to still encountering difficulties adjusting to BYU, and all it entails, but constantly reminds himself of larger goals and the big picture.

“Coming to this town you got to settle down, be more mature, (and) respect other people’s opinions and values,” he said. “I guess for the average person, who doesn’t know (the rules), it would be hard, but if you know you have to do something — if you know what you need to do to get to the next step — this is the way I got to go.”

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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1. Utah Valley Guy
Springville, UT,
Sept. 4, 2014

Who else is inspired by what's happening with BYU football uner Coach Mendenhall? And watching these young men mature and grow in character!

2. Esquire
Springville, UT,
Sept. 4, 2014

I love that this kind of diversity touches on Provo.

3. Cougar Claws
Lindon, UT,
Sept. 4, 2014

I'm excited to see this guy take the field. He had a really good fall camp. Not only is he an amazing athlete, but he was making really good catches too. He's a really good football player, not just a really good athlete. Good luck Devon! We'll need your big play ability on Saturday!

4. Geno
Lehi, UT,
Sept. 4, 2014

I came to Provo as a member of the LDS faith (and white) from California and I had a hard time adjusting to Provo. Can't imagine what it would be like for an African American coming to Utah to go to school in such a different place. Love the attitude of Devon to make it work, I think any question the NFL has on why things didnt work out with Oregon will be erased after they see he made it through BYU.

In the end I learned to abide by the rules enough to stay out of trouble in Provo and over time learned the value in a lot (not all) of the rules that I thought were stupid. I think now I'm reaping the blessings of that time in my life.

Best of luck to #19.

5. Outside-View
Federal Way, WA,
Sept. 4, 2014

Living standards is one thing but does Coach Mendenhall give out a list of team rules that recruits need to abide by in addition to those regular standards of no alcohol, no smoking, no premarital sex. It might be good for them to know...
1 no earings ( reportedly why he missed the UConn game)
2 no new tatoos ?
3 # hours of service every week
4 dont miss church meetings ( your own denomination is fine)
5 no fighting (unless it is in practise and then that is viewed as a good thing)
6 no cow tipping

Regardless, it looks like Blackmon is handling it well. I am anxious to see him and Leslie have a big impact on the Texas game.

Lets hope they play and dont get suspended because of the music they listen to on their headphones