This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
You never know what you are going to get from BYU senior receiver Devon Blackmon on or off the field but it is almost always entertaining.
Blackmon, from Fontana, Calif., came up to the media interview room after practice on Tuesday to discuss his career performance against East Carolina on Saturday nine catches for 132 yards and ended up making a statement that has caused quite the uproar on Twitter after I and several other reporters posted it around noon.
When I asked Blackmon in a group interview that was lighthearted and playful in nature about his "trials" and his "journey" and how he is doing off the field as a non-LDS, African American in Provo, he said he could not compare his personal struggles and difficulties to the trials faced by Jesus Christ and Tupac, a deceased American rapper who was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996.
Blackmon has joked with reporters before about how he resembles Tupac Shakur and admires his work. He's also a devout Christian.
Here's his answer when I suggested he seemed upbeat and positive after telling me in August that he was struggling without boyhood friend Jamaal Williams, the running back who is also from Fontana who withdrew from school just before preseason camp began:
"I am always upbeat. I mean, there is never really a time where I am sad. If I am sad, you guys will know. You know what I mean? Because I am always an upbeat person. I am always smiling, always singing, you know what I mean?" Blackmon said. "But the times that I had that were a trial, they weren't really trials like crucifixion, like Jesus' trials or something like that, or Tupac, or something like that (laughter). Not those type of trials, you know how I mean? It was just trials of getting adjusted to the new culture, being a guy in Provo, getting used to the Honor Code, trials like that. Like I say, I have teammates that help me out with it, like Kurt [Henderson], Mitch [Mathews]. Jamaal [Williams] when he was up here. There are a lot of teammates that help me out. I didn't really feel the wrath. I am upbeat right now just because that is who I am. I have always been like that. Always been happy.
I always feel good. This is my last, senior year. There is no reason for me to have an attitude, no reason for me to be down. Each day, got to be positive. Each day, I got to work on something. I can't afford a day off. So, it is just a mindset. You choose to be happy, choose to be positive. And I will choose to be upbeat every day. When I am sad, you will know. When something bothers me, you will know. And I will not hold my tongue."
Here's more from Blackmon, stuff that didn't make the article or the aforementioned:
On his progress so far this season:
"I am real comfortable with the offense. I know the plays and am just super-focused and ready. That's where I'm at."
On what the receivers have to do in case there is a different QB this week:
"Just be perfect. Get our routes down. Just encourage the young quarterback and be there for him. He is going to be thrown into the fire. We got to catch everything, be perfect on our routes, help him out. Just be there for him."
On what he is most focused on now:
'Just more focused on the playbook and where the offense is going, the whole offense as a whole, not myself. I focus on myself on the field, when I do my routes and my releases, little things."
On Terenn Houk's performance:
"You put on that helmet, that shoulder pads, you a warrior out there. It is just, if he can do that, I can do that. You know what I mean? I was sick last week. Super sick. So seeing him do that, I was like, 'I gotta get out there.' I guess you see what happened. The whole team rallied."
On us wondering why he's not on more punt return, kick return duty:
"Me too. Me too. We have that same question."
On whether he is campaigning to return punts:
"Um, I mean, we will just let coaches be coaches. You guys know what I can do. Fans know what I can do. They know what I can do. It is not like that was the game where it was first being displayed. Being able to make people miss in practice. So it is about what they want to do. I am just here to contribute the best way I can and if they give me the ball in space, there will be something happening … But until then, I just gotta play my role, and play my position."
On chemistry with Tanner Mangum:
"Me and Tanner have been throwing since the summer … slants and streaks. … I just told him, hey, this might be your team. Be prepared. Anything can happen, it is the football season. First game, what do you know, it happens. I am his first pass. And I am, what do you know, it is cool. I didn't expect it. The chemistry is great. I feel like he knows what he is doing. He is a vet. He kinda knows the mental game. I just follow. I am a receiver. I don't get to tell the quarterback to throw it to me. I just follow. If he feels like I am open, he will get it to me. I feel like our chemistry is pretty good. What do you think Tanner … I owe it to him. I just get open and catch the ball. It is him that puts the ball on me and gets the read. So, it is a credit to him. Just a receiver. That's all I do."
On some of the controversial stuff he's posted on Twitter:
'I have got to work on that. That's something I have to work on, seriously. … It is so dangerous. It can promote you, and it can degrade you at the same time. So you have to be careful. And I am such a passionate, heart-on-the-sleeve person. You feel me when I speak. You know what I am saying? I have to work on that. That's something I have to work on."
On whether he talks to Jamaal Williams a lot:
"Yeah, he is doing great. He texts me every weekend. But we don't even talk about football. We talk about other things. It is pretty cool. I keep up with Jamaal a lot."