Scouting report: Tray Blackmon
Anyway, I know Auburn football is your concern. Here's another scouting report, this time on an up-and-coming linebacker. Tray Blackmon has more hype than anyone I've seen at Auburn in the non-Carnell category, and I'll try to separate fact from fiction.
I altered my "toolbox" because of Tray Blackmon. He deserves a high grade on "attitude" even though he's not a leader. So I separated the two skills into separate categories.
TRAY BLACKMON, LB (No. 10)
6-0, 210, Redshirt freshman
The basics: The crown jewel of Auburn's 2005 signing class, Blackmon is a weak-side linebacker from LaGrange, Ga., which is one of the nation's most consistently excellent high-school programs. Blackmon was a 5-star, super duper prospect according to every publication on the planet. Auburn allocated a ton of time and energy toward his recruitment, and the Tigers believe he's everything they expected. He's a quiet kid. He's unusually intense on the field. Teammates call him "the little ball of hate" and I think it's fitting. If he was a cartoon, Blackmon would be the Tasmanian Devil. He's always sprinting, spinning, hitting and jumping around. Blackmon had the talent to start last season, though coaches (reasonably) stuck with fifth-year senior Antarrious Williams throughout the season.
2006 outlook: Blackmon probably will start at weak-side linebacker. He'll play a lot regardless. Blackmon was going to face some significant competition from Merrill Johnson, a sophomore whom I believe is the most underrated player on the entire team. But Johnson suffered a serious leg injury during one of the spring scrimmages. That means the spot is Blackmon's to lose. I don't see that happening.
Summary: Blackmon will become a fan favorite almost instantly. He plays with a flair that most players simply don't have. He lines up hits exquisitely, and he almost always stays attached to the ballcarrier. His weakness right now is pass defense. That's not surprising since so much of that is based on experience. Auburn coaches are 100% convinced that he'll be a star. I haven't seen evidence to the contrary. One thing to consider, though, is that Blackmon's reckless play doesn't exactly match his body. He's a little guy. He seems smaller than the official stats listed above. I think he'll miss part of one season because of a broken bone. That's my prediction.
Stamina/durability: 60 (based only on size)
Football aptitude: 70