OSU's Blackmon a vibrant optionBY JOHN MARSHALL
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. —Even sitting behind a table, Justin Blackmon looks the part of the nation's best receiver.
Graceful and confident, Blackmon is almost coiled into the chair, appearing as if he's about to spring up to blow past a defender or power through a tackler at any moment.
He's even more impressive on the field and in film.
"When you watch him move, that power and strength, (it's) that one step at full speed and he can still power through things," Stanford co-defensive coordinator Jason Carver said on Thursday. "He looks bigger than he is because he's so strong and so powerful."
Blackmon likely will make his last appearance in an Oklahoma State uniform against Stanford in Monday night's Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
He's already alluded to "taking the next step" and was even recognized during the Cowboys' Senior Day, so yeah, he's all but gone.
Blackmon leaves as possibly the most talented receiver at a school that's had some stellar ones in recent years.
Following the fast-moving footsteps of Rashaun Woods, D'Juan Woods and Dez Bryant, Blackmon has churned out yards and touchdowns in his three seasons in Stillwater.
Blessed with superb physical gifts and a work ethic that's pushed him from good to great, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior has been college football's most dynamic force the past two seasons.
After catching just 20 passes as a freshman in 2009, Blackmon has 224 receptions for over 3,100 yards and 35 touchdowns the past two years. He holds the NCAA record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games with a touchdown at 14 and has five Oklahoma State single-season records, including 113 catches this season and 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.
A two-time All-American, he joined Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree as the only two-time winners of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver and will leave Oklahoma State second all-time in receptions and yards in only three seasons.
"It's amazing how smart he is on the football field," said Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, whose rise to prominence has coincided with Blackmon's. "There aren't many guys who understand coverages and route running like he does. That's why he's going to be a really high draft pick."
Blackmon had a chance to leave Stillwater after last season but opted to return for his junior season and a chance to win a Big 12 championship, beat rival Oklahoma and take the Cowboys to a BCS bowl for the first time.
Those goals accomplished, it might be time for the next test.
"I think it's time maybe after this game to move on and see what else is out there," Blackmon said.
Before then, Blackmon has a final curtain call against Stanford.
The Cardinal have a talented secondary and did a decent job against a wideout similar to Blackmon, allowing Southern California's Robert Woods to catch nine passes, but for just 89 yards and one touchdown in a double-overtime win over the Trojans.
Good as Woods is, Blackmon presents a whole different set of problems, from the need to gang tackle to shading extra defenders his direction.
"He's one of those players who can change a game, like a shutdown corner in the NFL where he takes away one part of the field," said Stanford safety Michael Thomas, one of the players tasked with slowing Blackmon down in the Fiesta Bowl. "We have to know where he is at on the field at all times."
They better or Blackmon will run all over them, right on to the NFL.
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