Barry Jackson

Blue-chip cornerback Blades commits to UM, continuing family tradition

Al Blades, Jr., University School, Broward All-County football team, January 12, 2016.
Al Blades, Jr., University School, Broward All-County football team, January 12, 2016.

The University of Miami’s 2018 football recruiting class, already ranked the best in the country by major services, added another marquee piece with a familiar name on Sunday night.

St. Thomas Aquinas four-star cornerback Al Blades Jr., son of the deceased former UM star, announced he is orally committing to Miami.

Blades tweeted: "Committed #FinishTheMission #HappyFathersDayDad.”

Blades was only 3 when his father died in a car crash in March 2003. Al Blades Sr. was a standout safety at UM and was named All Big East as a senior in 2000. He went undrafted but played two years for the 49ers before his death at 26.

In March 2003, Blades was a passenger in a car driven by former Plantation High School teammate Martel Johnson. Johnson was driving Blades' 1999 Mazda Millenia when it hit another car. Both died in the crash.

Al Blades Jr. also has two uncles who were standouts at UM and the NFL - former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Brian Blades and former Detroit Lions safety Bennie Blades.

“Brian and I are pushing him to the U and to continue the legacy with his dad,” Bennie Blades told me at a UM charity event in the spring. “We told him to take his visits. Every time he comes back from a visit, he says he still likes Miami. I think he can be a safety or cornerback.”

Rivals rates the 6-foot-1 Blades Jr. as the sixth best corner and 35th best player in the 2018 class. He’s also UM’s fourth four-star defensive back commitment, joining Josh Jobe, Gilbert Frierson and Gurvan Hall.

In previous interviews with Canesport, Blades said: "Miami's always been a special program. They're rebuilding."

Blades committed to UM once before, in 2015, but decommitted eight months later.

He has been invited to play in January’s Under Armour All America Game.

UM should be loaded at cornerback in 2018, with a group led by Malek Young, Jhavonte Dean and Blades. Dee Delaney, a transfer from The Citadel, has only one year of eligibility at Miami.