Junior college defensive end Arnold Blackmon (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro College) was a first-team, all-district athlete as a senior at Bellaire High School in the greater Houston area. As good as he was, however, even he admitted to not being ready for FBS competition.
Fast-forward two years, and Blackmon has worked his way up the Navarro ladder and has watched his recruiting stock rise in recent weeks -- so much that he’s becoming more of the player to watch on a defense loaded with FBS-caliber athletes.
Blackmon, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound end, has been phenomenal for a Navarro team ranked No. 8 in the latest NJCAA poll. The Bulldogs (6-1) are coming off a 70-7 throttling of Southeast Prep on Saturday.
Blackmon credits the instruction received on the junior college level for the player that he has become. He currently has interest from New Mexico, Houston, Kansas, Old Dominion and Grambling State.
“Coming out of high school, I wouldn’t have been ready for D-1 football,” Blackmon said. “This has been a great opportunity to learn technique. Out of high school, I was completely unaware of technique, but [defensive line] Coach [Andrae] Rowe has put so much time in with me, it’s ridiculous. He’s very technical and detailed, and he’s made me a better player.”
Blackmon was named the Southwestern Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) Defensive Player of the Week after his efforts against Trinity Valley Community College (Athens, Texas) on Sept. 29. He had seven solo tackles, three assists and a sack in a game pitting two of the conference’s stalwarts.
While he’s still looking for offers, Blackmon definitely has made an impact on his team. He lines up alongside Michael Jolivet, a defensive end who has verbally committed to Houston. Together, the two are a part of a defense that is one of the best in the SWJCFC. Entering Saturday, Blackmon had 19 tackles for loss.
“I feel like I’m a balanced D-end,” Blackmon said. “I can get to the passer, and I can also stop the run. Whoever gets me will get a hard worker who never gives up. I’m always optimistic, and I’m going to keep pushing until the clock ticks.”