Blackman goes through drills Thursday morning during practice at Eastern Oregon University. (Casey Kellas/The Observer)
Former University of Idaho quarterback comes to EOU
The Eastern Oregon University football team has welcomed Dominique Blackman, a 6-foot-5 quarterback who started seven games for the University of Idaho last year.
Blackman was dismissed from Idaho for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
The California native is not yet eligible to play for the Mountaineers.
“We’re working with the eligibility center,” EOU head coach Tim Camp said. “He’s here. We’re excited that he’s here, but he’s not admitted yet. It’s all timeline right now and paperwork. He’s gonna be (eligible). It’s just a matter of getting everything in line.”
Once Blackman does become eligible, he could be a boost to the Mountaineers offense. Blackman, who along with his height is listed at 257 pounds, completed 65 percent of his passes last year for 1,610 yards for the Vandals. He had nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Camp said he doesn’t know when Blackman will become eligible. He said Blackman is ruled out for the season opener at Portland State, but Blackman is working on trying to be ready for the Week 2 matchup against Montana Tech.
“It’s all in the NAIA clearinghouse’s hands,” Camp said. “It’s just transcripts and stuff. It’s just a waiting game. But we’re fortunate that he’s here. He’s a very good player. But, he’s got some work to do.”
Putting on a new uniform is nothing new for Blackman. EOU will be his sixth stop since entering college.
He signed with the University of Washington after a stellar career at Carson High School in California. Rivals.com rated him the No. 95 recruit in California at the time.
But after being academically ineligible at UW, Blackman attended Los Angeles Harbor College in 2009.
There, he completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,711 yards and 35
He then transferred to Old Dominion in Virginia in 2010 where he redshirted for a season.
After transferring to Idaho in 2011, he was forced to sit for a season due to the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Last spring, he was enrolled at NAIA Pikeville Univeristy in Kentucky. Now he comes to La Grande to join a Mountaineer squad that has been looking for stability at the quarterback position since Chris Ware graduated in 2011.
“I knew about him,” Camp said. “He kept calling me, but I never returned his calls. At the same time, he convinced me that he wanted an opportunity and this was going to be a place he could get a degree. We had a couple of conversations, and I felt comfortable bringing him into this situation and he’s done a good job so far.”
Camp said that when Blackman does become eligible, he will have a chance to compete for the starting job along with the other quarterbacks on the roster.
“He’s definitely in the competition,” Camp said.
“We have two good quarterbacks that have had a good fall camp and who have worked very, very hard. But, the competition battle has got to be everyday.”
With Blackman’s size and versatility, Camp thinks that the big left-hander’s skillset would fit right in with the Mountaineers’ offense.
“Dominique has a strong arm and he understands football,” Camp said. “I don’t think the Frontier Conference is going to faze him at all. He’s seen the big show. Dominique’s been to a few camps. So, he’s a little bit older and he understands and sees things a little bit faster than your average incoming quarterback.”
Blackman won’t be the only former Vandal wearing Mountaineer colors this fall. Also joining the fold is wide receiver Justin Hernandez.
Hernandez is listed at 6-feet, and 190 pounds. He played for Lapwai, Idaho, in high school before joining the University of Idaho. He sat out last year due to personal issues.
“Justin, I found out about him two years ago,” Camp said. “I tried to get him here last year and he had some personal problems going on. But he’s an exceptional young man. A great kid. He just needed a chance.”
Camp thinks that Hernandez has the right makeup to benefit the Mountaineers.
“He works really hard. He’s a great receiver. I’m excited about him,” Camp said.
“He’s had a very good fall camp. He had a really good spring. He’s fast and physical. But at the same time he also prides himself on blocking. To be a wide receiver in this offense, you have to be able to block.”
The Mountaineers open the season Thursday night at Portland State University.