Utah will welcome BYU to Rice-Eccles Stadium this Saturday, along with four-star cornerback Elijah Blades. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 170 pounds, Blades is a big, fast cornerback who would be ideal in Utah’s man coverage defense.
Blades is currently committed to Florida, but is keeping his options open thanks to a conversation with his father. “My dad talked to me, just told me to live out the recruiting process, you’ll never have another chance at it,” Blades said. “[He said to] just see what the other schools have to offer, even if I’m still committed, go check ‘em out and see. Because you never know, Signing Day’s in February, so it’s still a long way [away].” Blades, who is also slated to visit Nebraska, said he’s taking the trips to “[see] how the team is and how they interact with each other, overall just meeting with the coaches, talking with them, see how they fit in their system. And see if it’s a good school and what’s available to me.”
Blades is drawn to Utah for a number of reasons, citing the Utes’ winning tradition, and his relationship with Sharrieff Shah and Morgan Scalley. “Coach Shah and Coach Scalley, I think they’re great coaches, I get along with them very well. They know how to coach defense, coach Shah, he’s coached a lot of DB’s, so he knows what he’s doing up there. Probably his personality just stands out to me, how he relates to me, I can have a conversation with him, just talk to him on a regular [basis]. [Utah], they have a winning program. And with the coaches, they bonded with the team a lot, and just really that [is what attracted me] to be honest.”
This will be Blades’ first exposure to the Utah-BYU rivalry and the playmaking prospect said he’s looking forward to the experience. “I haven’t heard too much about it, but the fans have been talking to me on Twitter, talking about the rivalry,” he said. “[They say] it’s a great game to go to, you picked the best one to go to, and just that it will be a good game to watch and [to] just have fun. I’m looking forward to meeting all the coaches, getting along with the players, seeing how the atmosphere is around the stadium, see how the trip goes, see how I like it.”
His visit to Salt Lake City notwithstanding, Utah will have to work extra hard to woo Blades, who was enamored with his recent visit to Gainesville. “It was just my dream school [growing up],” he said. “All of my coaches [at Florida], I get along with them well. And then the stadium, when I first walked in there, stood out to me. I’ve talked to the whole staff, I was just talking to them yesterday, we just have a great bond. Basically they sold me on the school, and like I said it was my dream school, so Without stepping on their campus I was already blown away. Just going out there and being able to see it was a plus.
“When I walked in the stadium, I just knew, I pictured myself being a Gator. And also, all their defensive backs are leaving this year, so I could come in as a freshman and have a chance to play, and [make] an impact early. And when I got there, all the coaches fell in love with me, we interacted well, and we just talked the whole time about me coming in and playing and starting as a freshman and just having a chance at winning a national championship.”
Blades will arrive in Salt Lake City on Friday and leave on Sunday … He has already scheduled two more official visits this fall; to see Florida take on LSU on Oct. 8th, and to see Nebraska play Minnesota on November 12th … The SoCal native said the two things he’s looking for in a school are whether the school offers the major he’s interested in and if he gets along with the coaches … Regarding his major, Blades said he plans to study sports management, “‘Cause I just want to be around anything that involves being around sports, that’s all I know. If football doesn’t work out for me, just being around it, I’ll be happier” … He said he’s drawn to Nebraska because of “The coaches, and then, for the fan base also. It just stands out to me because of the name.”