Al Blades Jr. honors late father with commitment to Miami

Al Blades Jr., the No. 37-ranked prospect in the class of 2018, is taking the path expected all along.

The defensive back, who played in the Under Armour All-America Game, committed to the Miami Hurricanes on Father's Day -- honoring his late father, Al Blades.

The Blades name is one of those most associated with the Miami program. Blades Jr. is the nephew of former Hurricanes greats Bennie and Brian Blades.

Blades Jr. originally committed to Miami in February 2015 before backing off his pledge on October 25, 2015, following the firing of Al Golden. Despite that, Miami remained the heavy favorite while he considered Florida State, Tennessee and a number of other schools.

Blades Jr. becomes the 13th ESPN 300 commitment for the Hurricanes, who already sported the No. 2-ranked recruiting class. Blades Jr. is one of seven ESPN 300 prospects from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to pick Miami, as Mark Richt and staff continue to turn the tide and win recruiting battles at home.

While the Hurricanes have won a number of battles close to home, there have also been key victories from other areas, including ESPN 300 running back Lorenzo Lingard, out of the Orlando area; ESPN 300 guard Cleveland Reed out of Fort Meade (an area where the Gators have enjoyed a lot of success), who chose Miami over Florida; and No. 1 tight end Brevin Jordan out of Las Vegas, whose choice made a national splash in mid-April.

Miami's chances for their first top-5 class since 2008 continue to look promising, with a number of highly ranked targets still on the board, including ESPN 300 cornerback Tyson Campbell; ESPN 300 receivers Kevin Austin, Anthony Schwartz and Elijah Moore; four-star defender Jamien Sherwood and hard-hitting linebacker Rosendo Louis.