Forgotten Man: Dom Blaylock Returns
Han Vance on Georgia football: Marietta, Ga. native Dominick Blaylock feels like the forgotten man for Georgia football 2021.
At 6–1 205 Blaylock, who missed the entire 2020 season after a preseason knee injury, and the 2020 Sugar Bowl after suffering another similar injury in the 2019 SEC championship game debacle versus national champ to-be LSU, is a sturdily built skill position player.
He’s also mentally sharp, a graduate of School of Excellence Walton High School. I took my JA – Junior Achievement – youthful business ventures club at Walton, while attending neighboring School of Excellence Lassiter High (I also attended Marietta High and Oakwood Open Campus). These two were considered the tip-top two standard public high schools in Georgia at the time and have maintained very high levels of academic rigor over the years. The affluent East Cobb area is, however, not a real hotbed for top football talent. Blaylock is the son of former NBA All-Star Mookie Blaylock, a scrappy and savvy point guard I used to watch play for the Atlanta Hawks. I see the similarities.
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Arian Smith, who did not do much for the team last year, and Jermaine Burton, who had one big game while facing single coverage from a backup DB, get much, much more publicity than Blaylock. Who I’ve rarely seen mentioned at all in the local media, who always suffer from recency bias (and other nameable delusions). The national media only talks about George Pickens.
The two were co-Offensive Newcomer[s] of Year for UGA in the run-dominated 2019 season, as Blaylock was the more consistent player throughout, while Pickens had the highlight reel plays and boneheaded gaffes galore.
Blaylock started three big wins, over Florida in Jacksonville, Texas A&M in Athens, Tech in ATL, and had a 112-yard game versus Arkansas State. Pickens had more starts and was thrown at more but had no 100-yard games until the explosion in the Sugar Bowl (UGA bowl record 12 catches; 175 yards). Blaylock had the longest completion of the season: 60 yards.
With fellow WR Kearis Jackson struggling to field cleanly at punt returner and making mistakes, safety punt returner Blaylock became the primary punt returner.
Injuries happen, and this kid – like Zamir White – has had two of them in a young career. He is a redshirt sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining. By midseason, I expect him to be back to at least the form he showed as a true freshman, who earned playing time, and the trust of his coaches.
Pickens was hurt in practice, will undergo ACL surgery, is about to rehab. He’s also going to be draft eligible.
So, Georgia will force the ball to no wideout, rely more on WR by-committee, involve the TE more. Look for Blaylock to return and bust out.