Saturday, July 21, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.27 H.B. Blades

I will be counting down my own list of the top 50 Pitt football players since 1972.  I have spent time doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of people when formulating this list, but ultimately it is MY opinion.  The great thing about lists like this is that people will disagree, and feel free to, but just remember that there is no right answer so there's no need to go crazy if you do disagree.  I will post this same intro with all 50 bios because I know the one time I don't, people will complain about not knowing what criteria I used.  I will add at least one a day, maybe two.  

My criteria for selecting the order is as follows:

1.  Productivity.
2.  Talent.
3.  Place in program history.
4.  Only the player's careers while at Pitt are considered, not their NFL careers. 
5.  No current players.

27.  H.B. Blades (2003-2006)-  One of the better linebackers in school history, the Florida native was productive immediately and just kept getting better.  As a true freshman Blades primarily played in reserve but he still managed 57 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.

As a sophomore he became the starter and made first team All-Big East with 108 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, and 2 sacks.  His junior again saw first team All-Big East honors, and with a move to middle linebacker his tackle totals increased to 121 tackles, and he also had a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown.

As a senior, Blades really exploded with 147 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 9 passes defensed, and 2 interceptions.  His season also resulted in his third straight first team All-Big East nod, the first time a Panther did that, and he also was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year.  He was even a named first team All-American by a few outlets.

For his career, his 433 career tackles are the third best all-time in the program, and he was drafted in the 6th round by the Washington Redskins.  

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