Al Blades Jr. was great on special teams last season — now, he’s trying to step up and start alongside Trajan Bandy in 2019.
A local, 4-star recruit from St. Thomas Aquinas (247Sports), Al Blades Jr. also received offers from Alabama and Auburn on the recruiting trail. Blades recorded 13 tackles and one tackle for loss in 2018 — gaining useful experience in his fresh career.
He’s in a much different situation now, however, as the ‘Canes are looking to reload after losing defensive starters Jaquan Johnson, Sheldrick Redwine, and Michael Jackson Sr.
Blades’ path to becoming a starter won’t be a breeze though, as the Hurricanes added great talent to their secondary in the offseason. Newcomers Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams will try to impress during practices, while Nigel Bethel Jr. and DJ Ivey compete with Al Blades Jr. for the starting job.
With new and young faces on Miami’s secondary, there are a lot of questions to answer. Game-time experience isn’t something you can simply teach — one of the possible reasons why we saw Robert Knowles’ name on top of the depth chart not long ago. Experience is an essential factor though — the difference between a scrimmage and an actual game is immense. With more practices and exhibitions upcoming, we may begin to see Al Blades Jr. separate himself from the pack.