Home team: Dominick Blaylock found a homegrown fit at UGA
This original Dominick Blaylock profile continues a special series in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau profiling homegrown talent from the State of Georgia. To access other HomeGrown Talent articles please visit the series hub on DawgNation.com.
It was once said by some of those clever folks at the DawgNation message board forum that Dominick Blaylock loved Georgia so much he would have signed if Justin Bieber was the coach.
That’s not exactly true. Blaylock wanted to play for Kirby Smart but also wanted to play close to home, too.
It seems closer to the mark that Blaylock might have signed to play for Smart at Georgia Tech. That is IF those stars ever went criss and cross in that most unique fashion.
DawgNation doesn’t have to worry about that, though. The reality here is that Blaylock chose Georgia in the summer before his junior year and never wavered. The chastity here (in terms of a recruiting pledge) was highly uncommon for an All-American prospect.
It meant no other visits. Or long extended phone calls with other rival recruiters. This meant no other official visits to try on another team’s colors and gear.
It was the recruiting world equivalent of “lose my number” because he was going to be wearing one for Georgia.
Smart was coaching at the in-state program which now appears to be in perpetual full bloom every August. That was what simplified his decision.
Blaylock was wanted by everyone. Most notably Alabama, Auburn and Clemson. He was even rated for the longest time as a 5-star receiver for the 2019 cycle. The standout from Walton High (Marietta, Ga.) oddly lost his fifth star in the final rankings evaluation for his class. It came after one of his best career performances, too.
He also authored an MVP-caliber performance in the All-American Bowl in Texas. The Georgia freshman was responsible for three touchdowns in that game. Blaylock caught two touchdowns in one quarter off passes from Wisconsin signee Graham Mertz. The former Walton High star also added a touchdown pass of his own to the stat column.
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) January 5, 2019
It sure looked like a 5-star showing. Especially on a field flush with elite players.
Blaylock joins George Pickens this fall (who held onto his fifth star) to becomes the first prospect to sign with UGA that rated among the nation’s top 10 at that position since Marlon Brown in 2009.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver was squatting 435 pounds before he graduated from high school. There are very few receivers in Athens, if any, that can squat that much weight. He was working out daily in multiple sessions on his body and his speed. He was up to 201 pounds this spring.
It was not because his mother Janelle has made him a vanilla milkshake every night of his life.
It was because he was told he needed to prepare his body to come in ready to shake SEC defenders. The message came fast and furious from the Georgia staff this spring. He needed to come ready to play.
Blaylock ironically scored those three touchdowns on the day after Mecole Hardman, Jr. and Riley Ridley declared for the NFL.
When it all adds up, it now means the Bulldogs lost their top three wideouts from the 2018 team and the expected top receiver back for 2019 in Jeremiah Holloman.
“It just means I had to step up, do my thing and hopefully get a starting position,” Blaylock said on January 5.
The best scouting report yet on Dominick Blaylock
Kirby Smart was asked about Blaylock and Pickens at SEC Media Days. That’s a nice feat for that duo. The media already has its lenses trained on that freshman pairing.
Their progress will shape what that receiver group can become this fall.
“The biggest thing with each one is their competitive nature,” Smart said. “They go to a seven-on-seven and they dominate. They go to a camp and they dominate. Just the fact those guys are taking over every opportunity when they’re given the opportunity to do so.”
Blaylock discussed the mindest he will have as a first-year Bulldog with DawgNation.
“Always work hard,” Blaylock said. “Always work hard on and off the field. Just ball out and hopefully, I will get a starting position.”
Blaylock is a slot receiver type. But he is capable of earning the punt returner job with a strong showing tat fall camp. Part of the reason why is the talented freshman is a “beast” in every sense of the term when it comes to athletic ability and elite hand-eye coordination.
If that was his passion, Blaylock was skilled enough on the baseball diamond to be drafted by pro scouts. But he hurt his ankle one spring and shut down his time with the old national pastime. He can also not touch a club for months, but then go out and break 80 on the golf course.
But the best scouting report on Blaylock comes from someone close to him. When they said it, it offered up the best possible take on what he can do.
“Dom is coming to play for Georgia,” that source said. “He will have fun and smile. Doesn’t matter if he’s playing with Jake Fromm or Justin Fields or being coached by Jim Chaney or James Coley. It makes no difference to him.”
“He’s going to be Dom regardless. Get separation from anyone and catch everything.”
That’s a simple take. To the point. Just like Blaylock. He prefers walking outside the spotlight as just one of the guys so much he once splashed a picture of a “Star Wars” stormtrooper on his Twitter page.
He aims to just do his job. Getting separation from anyone and catching everything will be his primary focus in Athens. Except he’ll add in a helping or two every series of trying to level defenders blocking downfield, too.
“I just consider myself a trooper,” Blaylock said. “Work hard. Do the right thing. The results will pay off.”
A Stormtrooper. To be precise.
“I saw it and it looked pretty cool,” Blaylock said of that picture atop his Twitter. “I am also a big ‘Star Wars’ fan. But that’s what I am. Just another trooper inside a bigger and more important unit.”
Nobody notices the Stormtroopers in those movies. Their precise blaster pattern was noted by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first “Star Wars” but those guys didn’t get much love after that.
Dominick Blaylock shares a story of his own
The members of the 2019 signing class all wish to prosper at UGA. It is an easy thing to conceive they want to get bigger, faster and stronger and upgrade their skills.
They all want to be drafted high by the NFL. Yet do they want to bring “glory” to Georgia? Does it matter to them when the Bulldogs don’t play well?
Blaylock was able to recreate a scene out in Texas at the All-American Bowl. A specific group of several future Bulldogs watched The Sugar Bowl upset loss to Texas together.
They were not happy.
“It was a little upsetting,” Blaylock said. “But definitely next year we are going to come out, compete harder and hopefully win it all.”
“It hurts. Definitely, the ‘Bama loss hurts more but that one hurts because I don’t think Georgia played as well as it could that game. It makes me want to compete harder and help the team out next year.”
Blaylock said that freshman Nolan Smith had the most smoke coming from his ears and nostrils.
“Definitely Nolan,” he said. “He’s a really big talker. He loves expressing his emotions. During that game, he was a little mad and upset. But that is what makes him so good.”
Travon Walker, another 5-star signee, probably took the silver medal for most ticked-off future Bulldog in the player’s lounge.
“I was probably number three,” Blaylock said. “I was pretty upset to see Georgia lose that game myself.”
The biggest reason why Dominick Blaylock chose Georgia
Blaylock’s grandmother introduced herself to DawgNation one night at an awards ceremony. She was quite charming and gracious. But she also suggested an interview topic.
“Ask him about Ashton,” Edna Woods said.
That would be Blaylock’s younger brother. He is the son of Janelle and John Woods. That is his Mom and Dad, too.
John Woods is his father. In every way, he has had to be. Or has felt blessed to be.
That will not change regardless of how many stories have tried to and will still try to connect his athletic ability with the gifts of his father Mookie Blaylock.
Blaylock played 13 years in the NBA. He had a storied NCAA career at Oklahoma. But it is fair to say that Mookie Blaylock has not had a strong presence in Dominick’s life.
John Woods went on to marry his mother Janelle and has been his father. Period. Dominick’s older twin brothers, Daron and Zack Blaylock, were nine years old when he married their mother back in 2003.
The older Blaylock twins also starred at Walton and signed to go on and play in the SEC at Kentucky. The Georgia freshman simply didn’t want to play too far away from such a strong family unit that has come together.
That’s the family connection that doesn’t get enough attention in this story.
The biological connection to the splendid basketball player may be the easy headline. Especially since Mookie’s athletic gifts were so vast that he inspired a certain world-famous rock back before it was known as Pearl Jam.
Ashton. Daron. Dominick. Zack. Janelle. John. The sum of all those parts meant a great deal to his college choice.
“It has been a part of the decision of not leaving the family there too far away,” Blaylock told DawgNation back in October. Georgia is very close to home and I can see the family every now and then and after games. It was one of the big parts of the decision.”
Dominick loves his turn at being the big brother. When Asthon’s name came up, his eyes got a lot wider than when he talks about his touchdowns.
Ashton Woods, 13, will likely play at LB or as a TE in high school. He will play multiple sports.
When John and Janelle brought him home, he went straight into Dominick’s arms.
“He’s a great younger brother,” Blaylock said. “We play video games together. Drink milkshakes together. We actually play ‘Call of Duty’ together. I’m the better (video game player) though. “
He’s only broken his younger brother’s nose three separate times throwing a baseball. That’s probably why Ashton just made one of the top travel baseball teams in Cobb County.
Blaylock finished his prep career among the state leaders for career catches and receiving yards in Georgia high school football history. He finished with 3,662 receiving yards. According to the records maintained by the Georgia Football Historians Association, that total ranks fourth all-time in state history.
Blaylock finished his high school career with what appears to be 211 career catches. If so, he would be right with Valdosta’s Stan Rome for the state record in that mark.
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) September 24, 2018
Check out the highlight clip above. Bieber wishes he had moves like that.