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St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Al Blades Jr. lines up before a play. (Source: Chuck Bethel Jr.)

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Al Blades Jr. Commits To Miami


The University of Miami’s top ranked 2018 recruiting class just got some more juice.

In what can only be considered as one of the most touching and fitting Father’s Day tributes, St. Thomas Aquinas senior defensive back Al Blades Jr. announced his commitment to the Hurricanes via Twitter Sunday – pledging to join the same program that his father starred for two decades earlier.

Blades Jr. is the son of former Miami defensive back and emotional leader Al Blades. The elder Blades played safety for UM from 1996-2000, but had his professional football career cut short when he died in an automobile accident in 2003.

14 years later, the younger Blades said he wants to wear the same orange and green that his dad did.

While some think “legacy players” are “slam dunks” when it comes to recruiting, Miami’s new coaching staff had to work to secure Blades’ commitment. He committed to UM earlier in his high school career but backed off the pledge and re-opened his commitment prior to the arrival of Mark Richt. Richt and his staff worked their magic and secured their 18th verbal commit for the 2018 class.

The Blades roots run deep in Coral Gables. Not only did Blades Jr.’s dad play for the Canes, but his uncles – Al Blades’ brothers – Bennie and Brian Blades both starred for UM before going on to professional football careers.

Being a 6-foot-1, 180-pound versatile defensive back with speed and range will help Blades Jr. blaze his own trail at Miami. After spending his first two seasons at Davie University School, Blades Jr. moved over to St. Thomas Aquinas this past season and helped the Raiders win their third straight Class 7A state title in 2016.

Blades Jr. is rated as a 4-star recruit and only further bolsters an exceptional group of defensive back commits for next season – including Coral Gables’ Gilbert Frierson, South Dade’s D.J. Ivey, Josh Jobe and Gurvan Hall.

About J.T. Wilcox

J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist that has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" Blog and "The Baldcast" Podcast. J.T. Wilcox joined the Football Hotbed staff in 2017.

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