Leonard Johnson vs Justin Blackmon


Leonard Johnson will face his toughest task all year in guarding Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon.  This battle between Johnson and Blackmon will be the marquee matchup tomorrow night.  Both players are very good at what they do and both have a future playing on Sundays.  If Iowa State wants to upset arguably the best team in the nation, Leonard Johnson is going to need to limit and slow down Justin Blackmon.

Justin Blackmon is as good as it gets at this level.  Many scouting services have Blackmon as the best receiver in college football right now and I will have to agree.  His stats so far on the year are mind-boggling.  He has 93 receptions (3rd in the nation)  for 1142 yards and 14 touchdowns (tied for the lead).  The junior is Brandon Weeden’s go-to-guy and is Oklahoma State’s big time playmaker.

Blackmon stands at 6’1 and weighs in at 245.  He isn’t that tall but he is the biggest “bawl hawk” in the nation.  His ball skills are his best strength and being a Lions fan, reminds me a lot of Calvin Johnson’s.  Blackmon is so talented when it comes to going up and coming down with the football.  He has amazing jumping skills and does a great job of controlling his body in the air.  He has the best hands in the nation and makes loads of difficult catches.  Blackmon also possesses big play ability as you can tell with his nation-leading 14 touchdowns.

Leonard Johnson is going to have to play the best game of his career to control Blackmon and considering it will be his last game in front of Cyclone Nation, maybe it will be.  Blackmon doesn’t posses elite speed so Johnson should be able to keep up with him down the field.  Johnson is one of the best cover corners in the nation.  LJ does a solid job of locking up with receivers and can be very physical with them in the first 5 yards.  Don’t expect Johnson to come down with any interceptions especially against Justin Blackmon.  Johnson doesn’t have any picks so far on the season as he rather break up the pass instead of go for the interception.

The big disadvantage for LJ against Blackmon is his height.  Johnson (5-10, 202) will be giving up 3 inches to Blackmon.  That combined with Blackmon’s vertical threat doesn’t bode well for LJ.  Johnson is going to have to be pretty physical against Blackmon if he wants to have success against Blackmon.  Johnson isn’t going to completely shut down Blackmon, he is just too good.  However, if he can limit Johnson to around 3-6 catches, it can go a long way for the Clones on Friday.