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Fall Camp Updates: Al Blades Jr. And DJ Ivey Becoming Leaders For Miami’s Defense

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The two juniors look to hold down the Miami secondary in 2020, and lead the younger players as well

247 Sports

It’s hard to believe, but juniors Al Blades Jr. and DJ Ivey are now the oldest players in the cornerback room for Miami. Seems like it was only yesterday they were true freshmen, trying to learn the ropes. The two spoke to the media on Thursday after practice.

Now, Blades and Ivey are the leaders at cornerback, and for the whole defense, a defense that Blades has high hopes for.

“My confidence level in this defense is as big as my love for this defense. The sky is the limit. It’s always up to us how good we can be,” Blades told the media on Thursday.

Even though the cornerback room lost Trajan Bandy early to the NFL Draft, Blades and Ivey are still confident in their unit, and how everyone is progressing.

“I think all the cornerbacks are stepping up and doing very well, all of them are dogs and I believe in each and every one of them,” Ivey said.

Along with Ivey and Blades at cornerback is Christian Williams, Te’Cory Couch, Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson. Experience level may be slim after the two juniors, but UM is still excited about the youth and depth they have at the position.

Ivey struggled early in 2019, but gradually improved during the second half of the season, finishing the year with 25 tackles and 3 interceptions.

Learning the lessons from a tough sophomore season, Ivey’s answer for improving his game was quite simple. “I have to slow the game down. Just play football.”

When talking to the media, Ivey said he feels the secondary is more connected this year, and they’re ready to make plays.

Blades was more consistent in 2019, developing into a player that started 7 games at cornerback. Blades recorded 36 tackles, 2 interceptions and 6 pass-breakups.

When Ivey was asked about the plethora of true freshman wide receivers, he had this to say, “They’re giving me the same amount of work other receivers give me. I think they have the opportunity to play if they get into the playbook.”

Blades noted receivers Dee Wiggins and Mark Pope, and how big of a jump those two have made since last season.