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Welcome to the U, Al Blades Jr.

Talented DB blazes own path and honors late father by committing to Miami on Father’s Day

4-star DB Al Blades Jr. follows the family tradition and commits to the University of Miami

The University of Miami added to their top-ranked 2018 recruiting class on Sunday when 4-star DB Al Blades Jr. committed to the Hurricanes.

A standout at Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas, Blades Jr. is the latest player from the local powerhouse school to commit to Miami. He joins a lineage of STA players who have chosen Miami in recent years, including 1st round NFL pick WR Philip Dorsett, DL Anthony Moten, DL Jelani Hamilton, OL Brandon Linder, OL Nick Linder — who will challenge to start at C — and 2017 signee WR Mike Harley, among others.

Blades Jr. is a top DB in the 2018 recruiting class. At 6’1” 180lbs, he has good size, great length, and very good skills. Based on his showing both on the field in pads and in camps and combines, Blades has been invited to Nike’s The Opening, an elite recruiting camp held in Oregon in July.

If the name Al Blades is familiar to Canes fans, it should be. Blades’ father of the same name played at Miami from 1996-2000, earning All-Big East honors in his senior year. The standout Safety was the emotional leader for the Canes, and was well-known for his outgoing motivational style, which you can see in the video below (WARNING: NSFW AUDIO)

Today’s commitment from the younger Blades is especially poignant. Al Blades Sr. passed away in 2003 in a car accident with one of his high school teammates — Martel Johnson — when Blades Jr. was only 3 years old. So, today, on Father’s Day, the younger Blades is following the steps of his father and committing to the University of Miami.

Not only did Blades’ father play at Miami, but his uncles Bennie and Brian were standouts at Safety and Wide Receiver, respectively, for the Canes. Both had long NFL careers, with Bennie playing for the Detroit Lions for 9 years and the Seattle Seahawks for 1 year, and Brian playing for the Seahawks for his entire 11 year career.

Brian Blades (L) and Bennie Blades (R) in their one season as teammates with the Seattle Seahawks.

As for Al Blades Jr., he is both blazing his own path and respecting the path of those who have gone before him. He joins an elite recruiting class for Miami in 2018, one that is loaded with playmakers from top to bottom on both sides of the ball.

Blades Jr. has played both CB and S at the HS level. While he could stick at either spot at the collegiate level, I lean toward him playing Safety, just as his father and uncle Bennie did for Miami Hurricanes teams in the past.

The younger Blades is the 18th commitment to Miami’s 2018 recruiting class overall, and the 5th DB in the group. He joins Josh Jobe, Gilbert Frierson, D.J. Ivey, and Gurvan Hall at the DB position in this recruiting class. That’s a supremely loaded group, you guys.

For a better look at Blades Jr. as a player, check out the highlights from HUDL and SBNation below:

Welcome home, Al!