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Blackmon juggles his way to starting job on Utah’s defensive backfield

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah football team has to fill both starting cornerback spots in their defensive secondary this season, and former Layton High School standout Julian Blackmon is ready to take one of those spots. He’s been impressive in fall camp.

“Camp has been going really well,” Blackmon said. “I’m just trying to do the best I can to show the coaches that I’m ready for this year.”

He played mostly on special teams as a true freshman last year, but he was listed as a potential starter at the right corner spot in the Utah’s pre-camp depth chart. Head coach Kyle Whittingham said he’s been making plays in camp. He’s talented, he just needs experience to boost his confidence, which is growing every day.

“I feel very confident compared to even this spring,” Blackmon said. “It’s night and day with how much confidence I think that I have in myself. I’m just waiting to hopefully get on the field and prove my confidence there.”

Cornerbacks need good hand-eye coordination, and Blackmon uses his skill of juggling tennis balls to improve that skill.

“I juggle them every day,” Blackmon said. “I try not to look at them so that I can use my peripherals to see. I actually learned it in like fifth grade when I was in Shakespeare, because I use to do plays. Coach Shah said that actually helps you a lot with eye coordination, so I just started juggling and I just started picking it up again.”

Blackmon wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but he was an outstanding football and basketball player at Layton High School, so playing with the Utes is a big deal.

“It’s definitely means a lot to me,” Blackmon said. “I’m trying to represent for my city, Layton. Shout out to you guys. Being able to play in front of all of these fans is amazing for me, especially because I’m from here, so it means a lot more to me.