Tennessee needs as much help at cornerback this year and next year as they can. The Vols added a late junior college corner to their 2018 class in three-star Kenneth George Jr. last month, and they’re pursuing several top cornerback prospects in the 2019 class. And one of those could be an immediate impact player.
JUCO cornerback Elijah Blades recently spoke with Greg Biggins of 247Sports about his recruitment, and he listed the Vols as one of the five teams standing out to him most right now.
“The ones I’m most comfortable with are LSU, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee and Oregon,” Blades told Biggins. “I’m not closing any doors with any other schools but those are the ones that I have the best relationships with right now.”
Blades would go on to say that Tennessee’s cornerbacks coach, Terry Fair, is the coach on the Vols’ staff who is his primary recruiter. He also said the appeal of immediate playing time separates Tennessee. “They told me they don’t have a lot of depth right now at corner and I could come in and play right away,” Blades said. “They have a new staff and I think they’re going in the right direction.”
According to 247Sports, Blades is a four-star and is the top JUCO cornerback in the 2019 class. He’s the No. 3 overall junior college player in the 2019 class as well, and he holds offers from Alabama, LSU, Miami, Texas, Florida, Oregon, Arkansas, and others.
Blades plays for Arizona Western Community College, the same junior college where four-star tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson and three-star offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson both played. Both of those players are part of the Vols’ 2018 signing class.
Though there’s no film of him while at Arizona Western, his highlight tape from his time at John Muir High School shows off an incredibly athletic and speedy corner. But that speed doesn’t come at a cost of height; Blades is listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds. He knows how to use his large frame to play with a tough physicality, and he has a great break on the ball. He knows how to read quarterbacks fairly well and is dangerous when he picks off a pass.
In his first year with Arizona Western, Blades totaled 22 tackles, four pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble, and an interception return for a touchdown according to ACCAC.org. He was also used as a kickoff and punt returner, returning eight kicks for an average of 26.9 yards per return and 10 punts for 38 yards.
So far, the Vols have offered 42 cornerbacks in the 2019 recruiting cycle and have been focusing a great deal on that position. Expect Tennessee to continue to push hard to sign Blades, and he won’t be the only corner they take in this class if they can land him.