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Former Eastside standout Dante Blackmon gets a shot at Falcons rookie camp
Dante Blackmon reaches out to defend a pass while playing for Kennsesaw State. - photo by Special Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. -- Former Eastside football player Dante Blackmon will make Kennesaw State history this weekend. 

Blackmon, a standout corner for Kennesaw State, will be the first Owls football player to be invited to an NFL rookie mini-camp. The 5-foot-11, 180 pound defensive back will be participating in both the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts mini-camps this weekend. 

It means more potential NFL success for Newton County football alums — a phenomenon that has become more frequent over the last decade. 

This trend was most recently noted in the 2016 NFL draft when former Eastside defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints, becoming the second first round draft pick in the NFL from Covington after Dale Carter who was drafted in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rankins, Carter, Jake Reed, Demetrius McCray, and Akeem Hunt are Covington  natives who have played, or are currently playing, in the NFL. Blackmon could join that list, depending on how he fairs in front of Falcons and Colts coaches. 

Blackmon was listed as a three-star prospect by in his senior season at Eastside where he totaled 31 tackles, five interceptions and nine pass break ups at defensive back. He also caught 44 passes for 636 yards and five touchdowns as a wide receiver, which earning him the honor of playing in the Georgia High School Senior All-Star Bowl.

After high school, Blackmon went on to continue his football career at Appalachian State where he would redshirt in 2012 after sustaining a season-ending knee injury during fall camp. Blackmon would bounce back however, playing in 23 games for the Mountaineers before moving back to Georgia to continue his career with a brand new football program at Kennesaw State.

“I transferred from Appalachian State University to Kennesaw State University because I felt that it was the best fit for me with sports and academics,” Blackmon said in an interview with

Blackmon enjoyed a great inaugural season with the Owls in 2015, starting all 11 games with enough explosive play and talent to generate interest from two NFL teams with one of them, the Atlanta Falcons, being his favorite team.

He now has a chance to make history by possibly becoming the first KSU football alum to play in the NFL. He will get that shot with the Colts and the Falcons as the Falcons minicamp kicked off this week, while the Colts Minicamp starting Friday May 12.