Apart from the player himself, the next best source of knowing whether a player is expected to return to school or head for the NFL is their head coach. For Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, that man is Mike Gundy, who believes that his star receiver won’t be back in 2012.
“If he wants to come back, he’s certainly welcome,” Gundy said. “We will have a party. But I can’t imagine that he would be back again.”
Many considered Blackmon to be a top-five pick prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, but he opted to return for his junior season.
Although the amount of competition that he’ll have for that top WR spot in the draft is rather high, a top-five pick is in no way out of the question. So far this season, Blackmon has hauled in 74 passes for 834 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has made an impressive number of highlight catches while helping his Oklahoma State Cowboys on their way to a currently unblemished 8-0 mark.
Blackmon’s biggest game of the season came this past weekend against the Baylor Bears. During the Cowboys’ 59-24 victory, he snagged 13 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns as the team continues to roll over any team that stands in their way.
“He has somewhat solidified himself as a top-five pick,” Gundy said. “If it were my son and he were a top-five pick, I would encourage him to move on.”
Apart from putting up wonderful numbers of his own, he has also helped Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden solidify himself as a top prospect at his position. His 2710 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 71.3 completion percentage have earned him the No. 8 quarterback ranking on ESPN.com.
If he continues to put on displays like he did against the Bears, he’ll certainly cement himself as one of the elite prospects heading into the 2012 NFL Draft. According to ESPN.com’s rankings, he is currently the No. 1 WR and No. 7 overall prospect.
With the likes of Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery standing in his way, though, he’ll need every reception he can get to help state his case as the nation’s top wide receiver.