June 22, 2016
The Florida Gators aren’t waiting around to add top talent for next year’s recruiting class, as they have landed cornerback Elijah Blades.
Blades confirmed his commitment to Florida on Twitter:
Blades is a 4-star prospect who is both the 26th-ranked cornerback and player from the state of California, and he is ranked 222nd overall, per 247Sports.
He’s a long and lanky player at 6’2″, 170 pounds. There’s plenty of room for him to fill out his frame and get stronger to play one-on-one at the line against bigger wide receivers who will come at him in college.
After giving the Gators his commitment, Blades went on to explain what went into his decision to Luke Stampini of 247Sports: “Just knowing Florida would show love to a California [defensive back], they must really want him. … Plus, it’s my dream school.”
Andrew Spivey of Gator Country noted that Florida’s recruiting superstar is quickly becoming Tim Skipper:
Blades has also undoubtedly taken notice of the success Florida has had developing defensive backs for the next level. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and safety Keanu Neal were both top-20 picks in this year’s NFL draft, for example.
Florida head coach Jim McElwain is known for his offensive prowess, having played quarterback in college and having served as an offensive coordinator at Fresno State and Alabama before he became a head coach.
McElwain and his staff are showing no problems appealing to defensive players, adding defensive end Antonneous Clayton and cornerback Chauncey Gardner and now Blades for 2017.
The SEC is known for its wealth of powerful and intimidating defenses. One key to that is having a secondary capable of shutting down the passing game. Blades gives the Gators another foundational piece at cornerback to build around as they slowly build a talented roster that will compete for conference titles.
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