For the second straight year, Nebraska will pull a cornerback ranked in the top 100 overall from the state of California.
Elijah Blades, who hails from Pasadena, announced on signing day that he will sign with the Huskers, a late twist after he’d been committed to Florida for seven months.
Elijah Blades said he was excited to head to Nebraska this fall. He was torn about Nebraska and Florida, but ultimately decided to be a Husker.
"I just wanted to follow my heart," said Blades, who plans to study sports management. "I got along with the coaches, my parents got along with them. Every coach has been there for me. I was seeing my options and what school was best for me."
The mother of the Pasadena football standout who signed to Nebraska admitted Tuesday she had initially had her heart set on his first pick: Florida.
"I was devastated," Germaine Blades said after her son, Elijah, chose the Huskers.
Until she snooped on his Twitter feed a few days ago. The boy's page was filled with tweets from excited Nebraska fans, welcoming him to the team and assuring him that he's be looked after during his four years as a Husker.
"Everyone was so warm," Germaine Blades said. "And you couldn't ask for a better coach. He's so down-to-earth and humble, letting the kids know he's there for them. As a mom, that helped."
Elijah's dad, Alan Blades, said he knew his kid was a star even when he started playing Pee Wee football when he was little.
"He was faster than everyone," Alan Blades said. "We've been waiting for this day since he was six years old."
Said his coach, Antyone sims: "He's going to be a different type of talent. He's a premier play-maker. He has prototypical size for his position. He's a laid back kind of guy but on game day he gets fired up. He's a leader by example."
Elijah's decision ends months of effort from the Huskers that really ignited over the last couple months of the recruiting cycle.
Nebraska had offered Blades back in May, and he often spoke highly of the Huskers, saying he wanted to take a visit at some point. But the summer and fall passed without Blades making it to Lincoln.
Then, Donte Williams was hired to the Huskers’ coaching staff, and he had a longstanding relationship with Blades. Arizona, Williams’ former school, was the runner-up to Florida when Blades committed to the Gators in June.
Williams’ hiring in December immediately put the Huskers in contention for Blades, and he would finally take that official visit to Lincoln on the weekend of Jan. 20. A few days after returning from that visit, Blades announced that he was decommitting from Florida.
Though Blades said at the time he was still considering the Gators — while also naming Georgia, Oregon and USC as finalists — his decision to decommit prompted most everyone to peg NU as the new favorite. That proved true when Blades announced Wednesday during a ceremony at his high school that he would sign with the Huskers.
Blades becomes the Huskers’ highest-ranked recruit in this class, according to one service. Blades ranks No. 48 overall on 247Sports, two spots higher than Tyjon Lindsey. Blades is a consensus four-star prospect and also nationally ranked by Rivals (No. 87) and ESPN (No. 265).
The 6-foot-2 Blades posted a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and 31.4-inch vertical jump in February at The Opening Regional in Los Angeles.
Blades ultimately decided not to come to Lincoln as a partial qualifier, choosing to sign with Arizona Western Community College.
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