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Nebraska 2017 DB Signee Elijah Blades Chooses To Go The Junior College Route

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This is an odd story, but one where Nebraska gets the shaft in the end.

Student Sports

There had been whispers throughout the summer that Nebraska DB signee Elijah Blades would not be coming to Lincoln. But, many folks held out that he’d be a “partial qualifier” and would be able to come to Lincoln and at least be out for a season and be good with being in Lincoln.

Guess not. Starting with Greg Smith of Hail Varsity, and then with Blades himself talking to Bryan Munson of HOL/Rivals last night, Blades confirmed that he will be at Arizona Western CC in Yuma this coming fall. Arizona Western’s HC, Tom Minnick, stated to Sean Callahan of HOL/Rivals that he’s going to not be placed there by Nebraska. That basically means that the LOI he signed with the Huskers is null & void, giving him the option of any school should he want to leave.

Since the interview was behind a paywall, normally I don’t care to post that. However, Blades himself last night decided to tweet out the interview, after going on twitter wanting to talk to a reporter about the “real story” with his recruitment. For the record, I reached out to Blades to talk, and he didn’t take me up on it.

Since it’s hard to read what is written there, I’ll copy and paste it for you here. Again, I’m only doing it due to Blades releasing the info himself.

I was watching Twitter tonight and 2018 Nebraska signee Elijah Blades was tweeting to have a reporter call him. Since I have spoken with him before I decided to start communicating with him. The information that he shared was a revelation. Here is the interview as a straight Q&A:

Was being a partial qualifier a possibility at Nebraska?

"Yes, partial was a possibility, but I decided not to."

Did you decide not to take the partial opportunity because you didn't want to go to Nebraska after all?

"You can say that. It seemed that at Nebraska I was going to get eligible to play. I thought it would be easier.

"Fans thought that I was scared of competition because I decommitted, but that had nothing to do with it. I am a competitor and that's what I play the game for."

Was the hiring of Donte Williams by Nebraska critical to get you to look at Nebraska?

"Yes."

And even after you committed and signed with Nebraska you doubted the fit of you with Nebraska?

"Yes, but I do love their fan support."

So based on your decision to go to junior college rather than take the partial qualifier at Nebraska there is no way after you finish junior college that you will go back to Nebraska?

"I don't think so."

I have a question, and it's a tough one to ask you and I am sure that it's difficult to answer. Do you feel like you were tricked at all into believing you would qualify at Nebraska? Meaning, do you feel like you could've qualified at other schools in the end?

"Some what."

In the end what was your GPA?

"2.26."

What did you need on the test to qualify?

"1,000. I was a little off. I don't have the score on me."

Have you spoken with the Nebraska staff? Do they know how you feel about the situation?

"Yes. I told them how I felt and they wanted me to take the partial qualifier."

One last question and I appreciate you taking the time tonight to set the record straight. As a result of what happened to you have you decided to reach out to anybody in the 2018 class from Nebraska that you knew or met about this?

"No. No one knew about this, but I helped recruit for them. I have never said anything negatively to any recruit."

Okay, a couple questions I have on this whole thing.

- Blades ended up being a partial qualifier, which would have allowed him to come to Lincoln. He ends up being a partial due to his GPA being good by NCAA standards (2.2 is the floor) but not the test score. That means he comes to Lincoln and stays a year and basically loses a full season of eligibility. He never plays, but practices & becomes a student to prove he can deal with being in college. The downside is that he loses that first year of eligibility, meaning he only has 4 years to play 3, instead of having 4 to play 4.

Instead, now Blades decides that playing is more important, and goes to a JUCO where he may not get out of depending on his scores. Granted, the upside is that he plays for a year, gets his grades good, and goes to another Power 5 school where he still has 4 years to play 3. See my point here? Yes, the tradeoff is that you don’t play, but you are already in a P5 school working towards a Bachelors, plus in their S&C program.

- The way that Blades would have rather gone to a CC tells me that someone recruited him there, either the HC or another party. It also seems like he was totally codependent on thinking Nebraska would get him fully qualified. He was a partial qualifier and is ending up treating himself as a non-qualifier.

Some folks will wonder why Nebraska took the LOI of both Watts and Blades and ended up not having them. Well, any school would have taken the risk on either. In Watts case, it simply sounds like he’s tired of the process and doesn’t wish to continue. That, in itself, I get, especially when you come from a Texas HS where it is football 24/7/365.

I’m not sold on Blades going to a JUCO & finding a greener pasture out there. I’m not saying it can happen, because there are success stories. I’m also not cheering against him, because I wouldn’t do that to anyone. However, it just puzzles me why, in both cases, they had 5 months from NSD to today to get their affairs in order. Jaylin Bradley did it, and will be on the field in 12 days to open Fall Camp with Nebraska.

Elijah was in Lincoln, on his own dime, for the Spring game. And now, he doesn’t trust Nebraska. That one is just odd to me. Somewhere between then and now, someone got to him. What was said or such, I don’t know. I don’t blame Mike Riley for this one, although I could possibly blame Donte’ Williams if I really wanted to. But, I won’t, cause Nebraska gave Blades the possibility to do something that now he’s taking a risk & basically going through the recruiting process once again with.