Quin Blanding verbally committed to the University of Virginia on February 27 of his junior year. At the time the Virginia Beach (VA) Bayside star, a consensus 5-star safety prospect, spoke of building the Virginia football program into a dynasty. Almost eight months later, the 6’2″, 210-pound Blanding remains strong in his original decision despite the UVa program’s recent struggles.
“I’m still feeling strong about it,” Blanding said.
As you might expect with a player who basically had his pick of any college in the country, the recruiting process has never quite ended even though he has consistently maintained he is a firm commitment.
Other college coaches, Blanding said, “are trying to put something in my head, basically to tell me if I change my mind I would have a place with them. I respect what they have to say, but at the end of the day I’m still strong with UVa.”
Blanding’s relationship with Cavalier head coach Mike London remains solid. He has also gotten to know UVa assistants such as Chip West, who is his primary recruiter, and safeties coach Anthony Poindexter. The Virginia coaches remain positive with respect to the direction of the program.
“They just have let a lot get away from them,” Blanding said. “They are not blaming anyone. They are just looking to get better.”
Bayside alum Taquan Mizzell, a good friend of Blanding’s, is positive as well.
“He likes it,” Blanding said when asked if he has spoken with Mizzell regarding his first year experience in Charlottesville. “I talk to him and Tra (Nicholson). They talk about the ups and downs. It can be tough, but he enjoys it.”
Blanding says he is trying to make it to Scott Stadium this Saturday for Virginia’s ACC contest against Georgia Tech. He discussed the expectations the Virginia coaches have of him when he steps out onto David A. Harrison III field next year.
“They see me being a dominant player,” Blanding said. “I can compete for a starting job, but it’s not going to be given to me. I can compete, but I have to earn my spot.”
Bayside (3-4) is currently 10th in the 6A South Region rankings and needs to crack the top eight in order to make the postseason. The defense has been pretty solid. Except for giving up 49 points to a loaded (and undefeated) Ocean Lakes squad, the Marlins D has surrendered an average of 12 points per game. Blanding had posted 78 tackles and one interception prior to the team’s most recent game, a 21-16 loss to Green Run. He showed off his offensive talents in the loss to the Stallions, rushing for 110 yards and two scores. Bayside had a bye last week.
Virginia fans can watch Blanding in action in the 2014 Under Armour All-American game, which takes place on January 2nd at 4 pm EST and will be televised on ESPN. There was talk of him enrolling at UVa in January, but he says he cannot graduate from Bayside in December because of the way the school’s academic system is set up.