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OSU's Justin Blackmon wears a hardhat

BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, Published: August 24, 2011

And, Blackmon insists, he's not taking anything for granted, no matter how dominant he was last year, when he caught a touchdown pass and totaled at least 100 yards in an NCAA record 12 straight games.

None of that can matter when you aren't looking back.

“I can't even tell you the exact numbers I had last year,” Blackmon said. “That's something I really don't pay attention to.”

Yes, of course he envisioned becoming a go-to great receiver at OSU.

“That's where you want to be,” Blackmon said. “When you come to college and you sign the letter of intent, you want to be that guy.”

It's just that you get the feeling Blackmon still doesn't fully realize he is that guy. He practices like he still has something to prove.

“I still think it's weird to see myself on the cover of the media guide,” he said.

Weeden said Blackmon's assets extend beyond the physical, too.

“The stuff you guys don't see is how smart he is,” Weeden said. “He's able to read defenses and really understand what they're trying to do to him. He can route adjust and find a seam, find a hole. And we're on the same page. You can't coach that.

“He's a confident, big-body guy who can make plays. And he has the smarts to go with it.”

Weeden sees it all. And so, it seems, do the other OSU receivers, who have extended themselves throughout the preseason, creating some of the most competitive position battles in the program's recent history.

“If they don't, they're damn fools,” said Cowboys receivers coach Kasey Dunn. “That guy works his butt off. To not work like that is a damn shame. Hopefully our young guys look at it and realize this is what it's going to take.”