UF 2017 verbal commit Elijah Blades sets visits, discusses his senior season and who trails the Gators

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Florida’s 2017 class is shaping up to be one of the strongest in recent memory, thanks in part to the addition of six highly coveted prospects this Summer.

Ranked No. 14 in 247Sports’ 2017 composite team rankings, the Gators received verbal commitments this Summer from in-state recruits Zachary Carter, Adarius Lemons, Ventrell Miller, James Houston and Marco Wilson.

But Florida also picked up a verbal commitment this summer from a talented prospect who’s 2,400 miles away: four-star defensive back Elijah Blades.

The John Muir High prospect committed to the Gators on June 22, and he hasn’t wavered in his commitment to Florida.
“They talk to my dad everyday, on a daily basis pretty much,” Blades said. “Coach Skip, mostly.”

While he frequently talks with Florida’s defensive coordinators, Blades said he and his family are closest with UF running backs coach Tim Skipper.elijahblades2

“He came out to visit me,” Blades said. “Basically, he’s the one who got Florida to offer me. He just came and talked to me about Florida, and he knew that was my favorite school when he first met me.”

Although he’s on the West Coast, Blades hasn’t had trouble getting to know his fellow future Gators. He said they have a group text in which they “talk pretty much about anything and everything.”

Trailing behind the Gators at No. 2 for Blades is Utah, due to a combination of early playing time and the personalities on the Utes’ staff.

“Their whole secondary is maybe leaving after this season,” Blades said. “They’re not really always about all football with you, they may laugh and joke with you, basically just a family environment.”

Despite remaining focused on his senior season, Blades has started setting his college visits for the 2016 season.
He said he’ll head to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Sept. 3 to see the Cornhuskers take on Fresno State, and the following weekend he’ll be in Salt Lake City, Utah, to watch the Utes take on Brigham Young University.

And on Oct. 7, Blades said he’ll make the 2,400-mile journey to Gainesville to see the Gators host the LSU Tigers.

While most parents would understandably be concerned about their child traveling across the country on his own, Blades said he hasn’t talked to his father about coming with him to Florida.

“I haven’t talked to him about coming yet,” Blades said, “but if anything he will be coming with me to Utah.”

But due to his father’s close relationship with Skipper and trust in Florida’s staff, Blades and Gator fans alike can rest assured knowing his family feels comfortable with him in Gainesville.f