Local stars Nacua and Blackmon have helped Utah to 3-0 start

Samson Nacua has 14 catches, while Julian Blackmon has team-high 2 interceptions

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) - Most of the talent on Utah's football team comes from out of state. Texas, Florida and California have become primary targets in recruiting.

But there are a couple of Utah's finest that have helped the Utes break out to a 3-0 start.

Samson Nacua, pride of Timpview High, and Julian Blackmon, a former star at Layton High, have become roommates and best friends on the Utah football team.

"He's like my brother, really," Nacua said. "We hang out with each other 24/7, doing everything together, training together. We really do it all together."

And they both get to feel what it's like playing big time college football in front of their families.

"That's my favorite part of playing because I'm from Utah, I get to play in front of my mom and dad everyday," said Blackmon. "I look for them and make sure that they're there. It really calms me seeing my family and knowing they're proud of me."

"Being able to make plays and then after the game having people and high school friends call me and say, 'wow, you did so amazing.' added Nacua. "With my family talking to me saying that you did amazing, it's just crazy to really see it happening."a

Blackmon leads the Utes with two interceptions, and even as a sophomore is becoming a vital part of the Utes secondary.

"I believe that with these past three games, my experienced has leveled up," Blackmon said. "I think that my confidence has also gone up."

Nacua is more of a free spirit, as evidenced by his decision to color his hair green and purple.

"I hear about it a lot," Nacua said. "Everyone is always making fun of me saying something about it. They're like, 'what's wrong with your hair? Cut it all off. Someone needs to shave him bald.' I'm like, 'oh dang, don't do it, please!'

Head coach Kyle Whittingham joked that his choice in hairstyles is a big reason why Nacua is second on the team with 14 catches, behind only Darren Carrington.

"Well, he's colored his hair, he's grown it out, and it look really good," Whittingham said. "That was a starting point. After that, he's running exceptional routes and his hands are as good as there is on the football team."

Nacua wasn't heavily recruited coming out of Timpview mainly because of his grades. But he's buckled down in the classroom, and now wants to get a degree in social work.

"I think after my dad passed, I just went through a lot on my own," Nacua said. "I just feel like no one should feel with any pain that they're going through alone. I feel like everyone deserves to be happy, and I just want to be able to put a smile on everyone's face. I want to make the world a better place."

Both Nacua and Blackmon have made the Utes a better team.


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