Neil Blackmon

Neil Blackmon covers Florida football for SaturdayDownSouth.com. An attorney and two-time graduate of the University of Florida, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter @nwblackmon.

Recent Comments
LSU, who lost to Florida last season and who returned fewer starters and can't cover anyone so far = "LSU will feast." What a wild place the comments section is :)
Good comments. The league said the kick should have been called good, which is why I wrote that. Just going with the league's position post the football game. This piece definitely is more a "5 things UF Must do to win" type take than "reasons they will." I get the distrust of Franks, but I also think he'll have opportunities to win the game with his arm because Florida's WR corps really is terrific. The biggest mismatches of the game are Florida's WRs vs. UK's young secondary and a UK OL that is grading out top 5 nationally right now vs. Florida's thin tackles. It's why David Reese is so important and Florida's tackling, which is hit or miss usually.
Daniel is "without question Kentucky's leader on defense". - Mark Stoops. I think that also means he's their best linebacker. I will defend that claim :)
Good comments as usual Nash though Franks was actually pulled in 2017. Luke Del Rio led the comeback W.
Yes. I would argue that on offense, he is Florida's most important playmaker. I would also argue he is one of Florida's most well-respected players, and one of their two most important players, along with CJ Henderson.
SECer- My editor made the change to "most valuable." My initial title was "important playmaker" for that very reason. Good catch.
Yeah it was a great football game. I'd anticipate a similar knock down drag out physical game this season. At SEC Media Days, you could tell there was immense mutual respect around the league for certain players: Fromm, Burrow, Tua, Cash Daniel from Kentucky and Perine were among the guys everyone admired, rival or not.
Perine has an excellent lawsuit against the tow truck company, actually, should he decide to pursue it.
Agree Upstate. Just think that whatever happens this season- a pivotal home slate awaits because it's very manageable. 6-0 should be expectation.
Whenever I've been to Athens, I've enjoyed it. Historic venue and tremendous, warm fans. I don't want the game moved from Jacksonville though. Rivalries make college football special and there's nothing like walking into that venue on a late October/early November Saturday.
On both interceptions, he a) bypassed better options; b) seemed to get caught in between what he wanted to do with ball. On the second one, whether he threw the ball away because of pressure or not, he threw into triple coverage. Sunshine pumping those picks is odd because they were such bad plays by the QB. That said, as a whole, his play in the game wasn't as bad as people are framing it, especially considering Miami brought 6 starters back from a top 10 defense including an All-American at MLB and 3 All-ACC dudes elsewhere.
Good comments by both. I remember the Wilson-Henderson debates after their freshmen seasons. What's interesting is statistically, Henderson was better in coverage but Wilson was a better tackler (something CJ really worked on the last 18 months). Either way, if those 2 dudes are healthy all year, Florida is in GREAT shape at corner.
It says so at the bottom in my bio, Volman. They have a great journalism school there. Has served me well.
Renovated Faurot should be LIT. I'm just glad Mizzou fans read this website. Wouldn't want Adam Spencer to feel lonely and out of place.
Thanks Ben! Appreciate it. I won't ever apologize for defending a player but I was not balanced enough on Steele and have written as much. Glad y'all called me on it.
Delpit will probably win BOTH the Thorpe and Bednarik because it is harder to hide a safety that a coordinator moves around. Marco will help CJ's cause much like Baker had some help at UGA to win last season. But these were "bold" so here we are. And honestly it's tough to do "bold" without sounding like a jackleg. Thanks for the comments.
Been writing about the program three years. I get it's fashionable to call me a "fellow fan" since I went to school at Florida (where I studied...journalism), but suggesting Henderson is the best and most important player Florida has is hardly a hot take. In fact, Todd Grantham said Henderson was his most dynamic and important player both at the Peach Bowl and in the spring. So it isn't a stretch to suggest the most important player to Florida is the best defensive player they have on a team that is thin in the secondary. Florida's not thin at RB, which rules out Perine. If anything, Perine's production will be limited because a) Mullen rarely goes with a bellcow and b) Malik Davis is a thing. As for Franks, he's vital, no doubt. No argument about that and wrote a column on it. But if the team had to play without CJ Henderson or without Feleipe Franks, I think many would grimace and pick no Franks. I'm sorry it's "tiresome" for you to read the stuff I write. Try Bruce Feldman (who called Henderson Florida's best and most important player) next or maybe Will Sammon, who just did a feature on him asserting the same thing.
LOL. Y'all will criticize anything. It's an "obvious" mismatch. Not sure what else you want, especially in a piece about the keys to the game for Florida.
CO: What would you have me write? Seems like calling it a mismatch out of the gate does the trick?
I think Bryant is pretty good, obviously. Seems to me his main offense is not being Lawrence or DeShaun Watson, which, you know, is most QBs.
the article contains links to Sports Illustrated making Mond a Heisman sleeper.
Dean is expected to make a big jump. He was fine against good receivers last season- but not fine against great ones (see the Georgia game, Kentucky game against Bowden and early in the Michigan game against Peoples-Jones). They like the summer he had. Elam will play-- more than they'd like in my view but he has the body already. It's just a huge jump in competition (played at a small private school to SEC ball).
I think Bentley will do a better job of taking care of the ball this season. But the idea Franks will have pressure to do everything himself is silly. Florida returns Lamical Perine at RB and one of the best WR corps in the country. Franks accounted for 31 TD last season and only 6 INTs. If that's "bad," then what would make him good?
Palmetto: I'd be more concerned about Jake Bentley throwing the football to the opponent than Feleipe Franks.
Article was written a week or two ago when Banks was practicing (well, I'd add). I'm optimistic about Chris Bleich. Apologies for not getting this note to my editor.
As for the Tay Bang incident: that was last July and was handled. I felt it should be included. It was edited out of the piece due to length. Toney was stopped and released. His gun was legal. So it would be really weird to include a story about a player doing something legal as an indictment of culture in the piece.