By LARRY VAUGHT
Georgia freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock, a five-star prospect and a top 40 player nationally in his recruiting class, once spent a lot a time on the University of Kentucky campus.
His twin brothers, Daron and Zack Blaylock of Marietta, Ga., signed with Kentucky in 2012 when Joker Phillips was UK’s head coach and then played two years for the Cats after Mark Stoops took over as coach in 2013 before transferring before their senior seasons.
Dominick Blaylock spent plenty of time wearing UK gear watching his brothers play and once thought he would play for Kentucky. However, Kentucky never seriously recruited the 6-1, 195-pound Blaylock, who is also a superb baseball player, even though he had 52 touchdowns and over 3,500 yards of total offense in his high school career.
He has 11 catches for 206 yards and two scores this season and has returned two punts for 17 yards. He had four catches for 112 yards, including a 60-yard scoring catch, against Arkansas State. He also had a 25-yard scoring reception against Murray. He also had two catches for 19 yards against Notre Dame in Georgia’s most impressive win this season.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart says he doesn’t tell Blaylock to to fair catch punts ahead of time. Instead, he usually lets the freshman make his own decisions.
“There’s times where we play in safe, where we play in a prevent mode of fake alert based on who they send in the game or based on the down and distance in the game,” Smart said.
“He has to fair catch it, and we had several of them that we were in safe the other day (in a loss to South Carolina) where he’s not protected, meaning we’re not holding people up for him, and so he can’t just abandon it and try to return it on his own.
“So we weren’t able to set up a lot of returns, which goes back to our third down. Defensively third down, we won third downs, statistically looks great. We had really good success on third down. We made our goal, 70 percent, but we didn’t hold them to third-and-long long enough to where we got to return the ball on fourth down.
“There’s a lot of times that they were in the 50-yard line range that they’re are in fake mode and we want to be as safe as we can to get possession of the ball and not be able to return it. And that had a lot with Dom having to fair catch it. It’s not a matter of him wanting to.”
My guess is that Blaylock will not want to fair catch any punts against Kentucky even though UK junior punter Max Duffy makes it difficult for anyone to return a punt. Still, you have to know the Georgia freshman is anxious to show Stoops and Kentucky what he can do.