Reports surfaced on Sunday that cornerback Elijah Blades had departed from the Florida Gators football program, for reasons unknown.
The reasons remain unknown at this time, however, head coach Dan Mullen offered some clarity regarding the situation on Monday: The decision was not made by Blades, instead, it was Mullen and the program’s choice.
“We dismissed [Blades] from our program,” Mullen said. “He was dismissed from the program, so he’s no longer part of the team.”
Mullen would confirm that he met with Blades personally and informed the cornerback of his decision to kick him off the team, and that was that. Florida quickly removed Blades from its 2021 football roster.
Blades transferred to Florida in August after previously playing at Texas A&M, providing the Gators with experienced, much-needed depth at the cornerback position. Blades would appear in three games – against Florida Atlantic, Tennessee and Kentucky – posting three tackles, a pass breakup, and two catches allowed on three targets for 54 yards (per Pro Football Focus) across 53 total snaps.
Blades did not play against USF or Alabama in Weeks 2 and 3 while dealing with a hamstring injury.
Since his dismissal, Blades has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal and will look for his next collegiate home immediately – a situation that Blades is quite familiar with.
Blades enrolled at Florida as a graduate student after spending two seasons at Texas A&M, although he opted out of his 2020 senior season. Prior to joining the Aggies, Blades had been committed to Oregon in his second year of junior college at Arizona Western, but he backed off of that pledge before his sophomore season.
And before taking his talents to the JUCO ranks after high school, Blades had been committed to the Gators as a prospect but flipped his pledge to Nebraska, signing with the school but never enrolling.
In his FBS career, Blades has recorded 22 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, and four passes defended.
Although Florida remains a bit thin on experience at cornerback, especially after losing junior and projected starter Jaydon Hill for the season due to a fall camp ACL tear, the team has been pleased with the progress of redshirt freshman Avery Helm and true freshman Jason Marshall Jr. this season. And of course – although he has missed the last three games with a knee sprain – junior and Preseason All-American Kaiir Elam remains the leader of the unit.