Dominick Blaylock-Georgia football-injuries
When will Dominick Blaylock be back to the form that fueled the win against Auburn? His high school coach shared a history lesson with DawgNation. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

‘He’s wired the right way’: Dominick Blaylock opens up about his recovery process and contributing once again for Georgia football

ATHENS — When meeting with reporters on Thursday night, Dominick Blaylock used the word journey to describe his past two seasons. Those two-plus years for Blaylock might seem more like The Odyssey given all he has had to overcome.

This spring has been the healthiest Blaylock has been since November of 2019. Jake Fromm was Georgia’s quarterback at that point. James Coley was the offensive coordinator. It was months before the start of the pandemic.

Blaylock’s promising freshman season came to a screeching halt on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium turf when he tore his left ACL. He had caught 18 passes for 310 yards, but he scored five touchdowns, including ones in rivalry games against Florida and Auburn.

Related: Why Dominick Blaylock is ready for the big moment in 2019 SEC Championship Game

Still, Blaylock maintained his confidence. Players have shown in recent years the ability to quickly return from ACL injuries. George Pickens, who signed in the same recruiting class as Blaylock, tore his ACL in March and was back playing by the end of November.

“After the first injury I thought everything was going smoothly, everything was going good. And then it happened again,” Blaylock said. “It got rough a little bit in the second rodeo. Like coach Smart said, I’m trying to keep a level head and not complain about a bunch of stuff.”

The Georgia wide receiver retore the same ACL in August of 2020. His second year in a Georgia uniform was gone and Blaylock faced another long recovery.

He would go nearly two full seasons between games. Just as he seemed to be ready to go from his ACL injury, Blaylock suffered a hamstring injury that pushed his return back even further. Blaylock wouldn’t return to the field for Georgia until the Charleston Southern game this past season.

He finished last season with just two catches for 11 yards. He played in four games for Georgia, working as a receiver and punt returner. But for all that Blaylock went through, he recognizes now that he’s through the worst of it and has come out better for it.

“Right now I feel a lot more confident. The knee is feeling awesome,” Blaylock said. “Just trying to do the best that I can for my team and get back to where I used to be freshman year.”

Though the two catches last season pale in significance to his 51-yard touchdown catch against Auburn back when he was a freshman, he still recognizes the significance of the moment. He mentioned how emotional it was for him and for everyone to appreciate what he’s been through.

He credits his family, Brett Seither and Ryland Goede as the people that helped him through the difficult process. Part of his family includes his twin older brothers, who both played football for Kentucky. Blaylock’s younger half-brother, Ashton Woods, is also a promising football prospect.

Coming from a family like that helped Blaylock handle the difficulties he endured. In the eyes of Kirby Smart, it helped provide Blaylock with the mindset and ability to overcome multiple ACL injuries to the same knee.

“He’s wired in the right way,” Smart said. “This kid came up tough. He’s had two older brothers who have helped toughen him up. He didn’t grow up soft, and he’s not afraid of contact. He never complains. If anybody has something to complain about, it would be him. All he does is work.”

An example of that is Blaylock honing in on his route running, an area he’s almost always excelled at. He spoke honestly about how he was scared at first when running certain routes, worried that he might re-injure the same knee.

So for Blaylock, a big part of the physical and mental recovery process was getting to where those routes no longer gave him worry or fears. To reach the point where he was no longer thinking about how his knee would hold up, but rather getting to his spot quickly.

“He’s looked real good, real smooth,” teammate Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint said of Blaylock. “As of right now, running routes and catching the ball-wise, he’s looked pretty good.”

Smart is often hesitant to dole out compliments of his players to the media. He exhibits none of that when it comes to Blaylock. Even though Blaylock hasn’t fully regained the same straight-line speed he had prior to the injuries, Smart pointed out some other areas where he has made some significant strides.

“He’s a really savvy route-runner. He made a play during two minutes that was a big play - a diving catch that set the offense up to win it,” Smart said. “He’s getting better and getting more confidence in that knee.

Blaylock was not wearing a knee brace when spotted at practice on Thursday. He smiled when asked about it, proud of the fact that he seems to be physically getting closer to the player he once was and hopes to be again.

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