Recruit to watch: LB H.B. Blades

Blades is the complete package with the size (6-1, 225), the speed (4.55), the stats (16 tackles per game) and the bloodlines (dad Bennie and uncles Al and Brian all played in college and the NFL).

One of the top linebackers in the country is H.B. Blades of Plantation HS in Florida and the Trojans will battle the Michigan Wolverines at this point with the hopes of landing this talented player.

Blades is the complete package with the size (6-1, 225), the speed (4.55), the stats (16 tackles per game) and the bloodlines (dad Bennie and uncles Al and Brian all played for Miami and later in the NFL). It would be easy to assume that with the Hurricane connections that H.B. would be set to sign with Miami but he says that is not the case.

"I don't want to stay in Florida," says H.B. (stands for Horatio Benedict). "Right now my top two schools are USC and Michigan although I might look a little at Auburn as well. I used to live in Seattle a few years ago and I know the West Coast. My family isn't giving me any pressure, they're just telling me to take all my visits and enjoy the process because I've earned it. They've been great because they can advise me and show me how to make a wise decision.

My uncle Al lives in San Francisco because he plays for the 49'ers and he and I are like brothers. It's hard for us to talk these days with the time zone difference but he'll be coming down to the USC camp when I'm there over the summer and it would be great to have him so close if I was at SC. I also have a brother and sister in Detroit so if I went to Michigan I would have family close by as well.

I'm interested in USC for a lot of reasons but the tradition would be at the top of the list. Guys like Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen, I grew up watching them on TV and that's as good as it gets right there. Whenever they're on ESPN Classic I always watch and I just really like that tradition. I think Pete Carroll is a great coach with an NFL background and I could really learn a lot from him. Ed Orgeron knows my dad and he also coached Cortez Kennedy at Miami. I was friends with Cortez in Seattle and he recommends Orgeron so that's good. Lane Kiffin also does a great job, I call him sometimes just to talk. They're doing a great job recruiting me."

Blades is a linebacker with the type of mentality that Carroll is looking for in his defense "I play at 100 mph. I am down and dirty out there. I do some jawing but I back it up. I am physical and play sideline to sideline. In South Florida, you have to have that mentality" and the Trojans are in very good shape at this point. We'll certainly cover H.B. more when he comes out for the Trojan camp this summer.

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