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Blades breaks silence; Will attend Arizona Western in 2017

After months of questions surrounding the academic status of four-star Rivals100 cornerback Elijah Blades, we finally got answers on Monday night.

Blades confirmed to HuskerOnline that he will not be enrolling at NU, but instead attending Arizona Western College in Yuma.

Blades had the option to possibly come to Nebraska as a partial qualifier and lose a year of eligibility, but in the end it was something that did not interest him.

"Yes, partial was a possibility, but I decided not to,” Blades told HuskerOnline late Monday evening.

Rivals100 cornerback Elijah Blades will attend Arizona Western in 2017.
Rivals100 cornerback Elijah Blades will attend Arizona Western in 2017. (Nate Clouse)

Arizona Western head coach Tom Minnick said he expects Blades to arrive to campus sometime on the weekend of July 29.

The chance to play immediately was no doubt a factor in Blades’ decision.

“It’s hard for kids to go sit, no matter what anyone says,” Minnick said. “You aren’t going to a high-profile program like Nebraska to sit and watch other kids play. You sitting there and not doing anything, it’s hard for kids to do that.”

What’s interesting is Minnick said he didn’t have any contact with the Husker coaching staff about possibly placing Blades at Arizona Western.

Blades and his camp initiated the contact on their end, which means he will not be a recruit Arizona Western protects and sends back to Lincoln in two years.

“If Nebraska would’ve placed him here, he’d be protected,” Minnick said. “But Nebraska didn’t place him here, so he could go anywhere he wants.

“If Nebraska would’ve called and said, ‘hey we want to send this kid here and get him back,’ it would be a different story. They didn’t call me about him. We recruited him, so he could go wherever he wants to go.”

Last year Arizona Western had 27 players going Division I, and this year they already have 14 with early Division I offers according to Minnick.

They are regarded as one of the top 5 junior college programs in the country, and Minnick said they are very excited to add a player like Blades this late in the process.

“We kind of knew about (Blades) from a while ago,” Minnick said. “We knew he was going to kind of be on the borderline of making it, and when we found out he wasn’t going to go to Nebraska, he knew about our program from some other guys, and decided he was coming to us, which was a great deal for us.

“He’s a 6-2 kid that can flip his hips and run. That tells you something. That’s an NFL dude. They are all looking for those tall corners and that’s what we look for too.”