The Covington News - - SPORTS - Sports Edi­tor Gabriel Sto­vall also con­trib­uted to this re­port.

him­self both on and off the field to be the best he can be. He was an all-con­fer­ence player, he earned his de­gree last week and now he has an NFL con­tract. I wish him the best of luck.”

Blackmon’s first team All-Big South se­lec­tion stemmed from his in­cred­i­ble se­nior sea­son. His ball-hawk-like play gave him a con­fer­ence lead­ing six in­ter­cep­tions (sec­ond in the en­tire FCS) and eight pass break ups as he ended his Ken­ne­saw State ca­reer af­ter two sea­sons with a grand to­tal of eight in­ter­cep­tions, 50 tack­les and two fum­ble re­cov­er­ies.

When Blackmon was com­ing out of high school and get­ting re­cruited, Hurst said he would talk to coaches reg­u­larly about how high his player’s ceil­ing of po­ten­tial was. Now that Blackmon has en­tered the high­est level of foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion, Hurst said he still feels like there’s more for Blackmon to grab.

“When I think about him, I think Mal­colm But­ler from the (New Eng­land) Pa­tri­ots,” Hurst said. “They came from sim­i­lar, smaller schools, but in watch­ing But­ler’s rise to fame, I think Blackmon’s that kind and style of player. He’s not gonna be de­nied. I have no doubt in my mind that young man’s gonna make it. If not at In­di­anapo­lis, it’ll def­i­nitely be some­where.”

Hurst’s con­fi­dence in Blackmon comes from some­thing more than his tan­gi­ble abil­i­ties.

“For­get foot­ball for a minute,” Hurst said. “This young man’s got a de­gree. He’s go­ing to be a good fa­ther, a good hus­band. Just a great young man, and that’s re­ally what’s im­por­tant.”

Blackmon be­comes just the sixth Cov­ing­ton na­tive to en­ter into the NFL fol­low­ing his re­cently drafted for­mer East­side team­mate Shel­don Rank­ins (New Or­leans Saints), and he’s look­ing to make the most of his new op­por­tu­nity.

“Now it’s time to go to work,” Blackmon said. This is just the start.”

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