USC's Mekhi Blackmon a defensive impact transfer to watch in 2022
With so much upheaval on the offensive side of the football—and the addition of true star power—it’s only natural to miss what USC did to revamp its defense.
Twelve of the Trojans’ 20 transfers in the 2022 class are on the defensive side of the ball. In that bunch, USC pulled at least three or four immediate starters. One of those players, Mekhi Blackmon, a corner transfer from Colorado who will spend just one year in Los Angeles, is almost assuredly a starter.
And On3’s Mike Huguenin has him tabbed as one of the most impactful corner transfers in the country. Huguenin recently ranked who he feels are the 15 best. He has Blackmon at No. 8, with this to say on his game:
Mekhi Blackmon was a two-year starter for Colorado and will play a key role in a revamped USC secondary; the Trojans need four new starters in the secondary, and Blackmon has the ability to be an all-conference player. He had two interceptions and 10 pass breakups in the past two seasons. Blackmon began his career at a junior college in 2017, then moved on to Colorado in 2018. He started five games in his first two seasons with the Buffs before becoming a full-time starter the past two seasons.
For his play last season, Blackmon earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors from the league and a spot on Pro Football Focus’ all-conference third team. Among Pac-12 corners to play at least 100 coverage snaps last season, Blackmon earned the ninth-highest grade from PFF, finishing the year with 41 tackles and four pass breakups. He was targeted 37 times and beaten for a score only twice.
Blackmon was joined in the 2022 transfer class—a group that collectively ranked as the best in the country—by fellow defensive backs in Bryson Shaw (Ohio State), Latrell McCutchin (Oklahoma), and Jacobe Covington (Washington). The Trojans added 5-star freshman Domani Jackson to the secondary as well.
Donte Williams, the team’s defensive back coach and lone holdover from the previous staff, will have plenty of talent to work with in building his secondary rotation, but USC needs him and his players to get it right. USC had one of the worst pass defenses in the country last season, ranking 123rd in success rate allowed on pass plays.
Blackmon and his teammates will get their first shot at a cleaner showing on Sept. 3 when USC opens at home against Rice.