Pittsburgh 52, UCF 7 - October 13, 2006 (photos courtesy of Associated Press)
2006 Scouting Report: Pitt's unquestioned defensive leader who has his sights set on national honors this year...enters his third season as a starter...moved to middle linebacker for the 2005 campaign and was one of the nation's most productive defenders...is on everyone's All-America list heading into his senior season...preseason candidate for the Butkus Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award and Ronnie Lott Trophy...owns an impressive package of intensity, instincts and strength...those qualities aren't surprising considering his bloodline...is the son of Bennie Blades and nephew of Brian and Al Blades... Bennie, Brian and Al all starred for the Miami Hurricanes and played in the NFL...H.B. opted for Pitt over the home state Hurricanes and has carved out his own impressive gridiron legacy...has played in every single game the last three seasons (36).
2005: Selected first team All-Big East for the second consecutive year... named a Pitt team captain...moved to middle linebacker from Sam linebacker prior to the season and responded by compiling a Big East-high 121 tackles...ranked 13th nationally with an average of 11.0 tackles per game...had a career and game-high 20 tackles at Louisville and added a forced fumble and fumble recovery...earned the Big East's Defensive Player of the Week honor after recording 11 tackles, a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery versus Syracuse... also named the coaching staff's Defensive Player of the Game for his Syracuse performance...had a game-high 14 tackles at Nebraska with two TFLs and a sack...had a game-high 13 tackles versus Notre Dame...had a game-high 12 tackles against South Florida...had a game-high 12 tackles versus Connecticut...had 11 stops at Rutgers...had a game-high 10 tackles versus Youngstown State...had a team-high nine tackles versus Ohio.
2004: Earned first team All-Big East and Pitt's Defensive MVP award following a highly productive sophomore season... was the lone sophomore defensive player to receive first-team All-Big East accolades...started all 12 games at Sam linebacker...Pitt's leading tackler with 108 stops ...had a team-best 10.5 TFLs and ranked second (tied) with three INTs...had two sacks...ranked fourth in the Big East with 9.0 tackles per game...had a season-high 13 tackles against Boston College and was named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Week...helped spearhead a tremendous defensive effort that limited the Eagles to just 56 rushing yards, nearly 128 yards below their average...also named coaching staff's Defensive Player of the Game for the Boston College contest...finished with a team-high 12 tackles against Syracuse, including two TFLs and one sack...had 11 stops and one TFL at Temple... finished with 11 tackles at Connecticut...also achieved a personal best with 3.5 TFLs and had a fumble recovery versus the Huskies...had 11 tackles versus Furman and was named the coaching staff's Defensive Player of the Game...had a team-high (tied) nine tackles, including seven solo, at Notre Dame...had nine tackles and an INT in the win over West Virginia...also added two passes defended against the Mountaineers, including one at the goal line with under a minute left...finished with a team-high (tied) seven tackles against Rutgers... also added his second INT of the season in the win over the Scarlet Knights...earned ABC's Chevrolet Player of the Game honor versus Nebraska after compiling six tackles and a fourth-quarter INT that Pitt parlayed into a touchdown to pull within 24-17 late in the contest.
2003: Played in all 13 contests, starting the Continental Tire Bowl game versus Virginia for the injured Brian Bennett...compiled 57 tackles, 4.5 tackles for losses and one fumble recovery on the year...had a season-high eight tackles versus Notre Dame...finished with seven tackles and a fumble recovery at Rutgers...had six tackles in his Continental Tire Bowl start versus Virginia...made a big play versus the Cavaliers when he stifled a fourth-down screen pass with a seven-yard tackle for loss in Pitt territory...was named the coaching staff's Special Teams Player of the Game after he blocked a punt versus Syracuse.
High School: First-team All-Florida 6A selection (largest classification) as a senior and was second team All-Florida as a junior at Plantation High...selected one of 50 National Players of the Year by Old Spice "Red Zone"...two-time first team All-Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) and All-Broward County...four-year starter at linebacker for Plantation...compiled 148 tackles, five forced fumbles, three interceptions and three quarterback sacks as a senior...set Plantation records for tackles in a career (409), season (154) and game (21)...49 career starts also established a school mark...led Plantation to the district championship his senior and freshman seasons...led team to an undefeated regular season (10-0) and 11-1 overall mark as a senior as Plantation reached No. 20 in the USA Today national rankings...selected to play in the Broward-Dade County All-Star Game...rated the nation's No. 17 linebacker by Tom Lemming... SuperPrep All-Dixie Team...rated Florida's No. 35 prospect by SuperPrep...rated the nation's No. 32 inside linebacker by Rivals.com...rated one of Florida's top 100 prospects by Rivals.com... PrepStar All-Southeast Region...played under Coach Frank Hepler...earned four football letters and also lettered in track and field...three-year staff writer for the student newspaper.
Personal: Horatio Benedict Blades, born 9/30/84, is the son of Bennie Blades and Kim Chapman...has one brother...father played safety for the Detroit Lions from 1988-96 and Seattle Seahawks in 1997, earning All-Pro status...Dave Wannstedt served on the Hurricanes staff from 1986-88 as defensive coordinator and coached Bennie Blades at UM...administration of justice major.
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James Conner Media Briefing
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