STILLWATER â€” Justin Blackmon has a decision to make.
As a redshirt sophomore, the Oklahoma State receiver is eligible to declare for the 2010 NFL Draft. And with his unparalleled production this season, a return to Stillwater is far from a certainty.
But Blackmon insists he hasn't been thinking that far ahead.
â€œI haven't thought about it at all,â€ Blackmon said Monday. â€œThat's something I haven't looked forward to. Right now, I'm just focused on this Alamo Bowl.â€
Well, he'd better start thinking about it soon. After the Cowboys face Arizona in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29, Blackmon could have just a couple of weeks to decide. No official date to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft has been set, but it was Jan. 15 last year.
The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year is ranked No. 13 overall on Mel Kiper's Big Board. The ESPN NFL Draft expert called Blackmon â€œimpossible to keep coveredâ€ while ranking him as the third-ranked receiver prospect behind Georgia's A.J. Green and Alabama's Julio Jones.
Blackmon finished the regular season with 102 receptions for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns and averaged 9.3 catches and 151.4 yards per game. That type of production combined with Kiper's ranking makes it understandable if Blackmon decides to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility with the Cowboys.
â€œHe has to do what's best for him,â€ quarterback Brandon Weeden said. â€œBut I want him back ... from a selfish standpoint.â€
One development on the Cowboys side is the potential for an NFL work stoppage. The NFL Players Association has advised its players to save money in case there is no 2011 season. A lengthy lockout would be fine for current NFL players â€” who could have been saving for this situation â€” but a potential disaster for Blackmon if he were to leave early then have nowhere to play in 2011. And no NFL money either.
Blackmon could risk it and declare anyway with the hope an NFL collective bargaining agreement is reached before the 2011 season. Or he could take the safer route and return to OSU.
â€œI've heard about that,â€ Blackmon said of the potential lockout. â€œI don't know exactly what (will happen) but I don't think that will factor in my decision.â€
If Blackmon elected to come back and play another season in a Cowboy uniform, he would have no concerns of having nowhere to play in 2011. He could focus on becoming the top-ranked receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft and helping the Pokes compete for a place atop the Big 12 standings.
One good thing about Blackmon's non-committal stance with regards to the NFL: It gives his quarterback the chance to come up with a recruiting pitch.
â€œI'm going to sit around the next month and think up a good pitch,â€ Weeden said. â€œBecause I want him around.â€