On Wednesday, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside safety Quin Blanding made his college decision public. The nation's No. 1 safety has committed to Virginia.
Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside five-star safety Quin Blanding
"I'm officially a Cavalier," said Blanding following his announcement ceremony. "It feels great to put this behind me and to move forward to put UVa football back on the map."
The five-star prospect selected Virginia over nine other finalists, including North Carolina, Florida State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Miami, Clemson, N.C. State, and Michigan.
"I picked UVa because it's close to home, where my family can come see me and so can my friends. I mainly picked it because, it's the start of a new program there. I feel like I can contribute there and that environment fits me the most. It's family."
Mike London was another reason that Blanding chose the Cavaliers.
"Coach London played a big part. He's down to earth and he really wants to build the program up."
Blanding makes it five-straight recruiting classes that UVa has reeled in a Bayside Marlin. In 2013, it was four-star running back Taquan Mizzell. Four-star wide receiver Anthony Cooper signed with the Cavaliers in the 2012 class. It was four-star cornerback Demetrious Nicholson in 2011 and linebacker Henry Coley in the 2010 class.
"Having those guys there, played a big part too, because they're just my family. I looked up to all those dudes that are now currently at UVa. I love them like family. Being next to them and changing the UVa program around is just the best feeling."
Blanding is the highest-ranked player in the 2014 class to make his college pledge. He checks in at No. 7 in the nation in the 2014 Top247 and No. 5 in the 247Composite, an industry-wide generated average ranking.
In terms of UVa recruiting history, Blanding is the highest-ranked recruit to commit to the Cavaliers since Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Eugene Monroe signed with Virginia in the 2005 class. Monroe was the overall No. 3 prospect in the nation.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety is one of three Virginians that are ranked in the top-10 in the Top247. The nation's No. 1 prospect Woodbridge (Va.) defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and the No. 4 prospect Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith defensive tackle Andrew Brown complete the commonwealth's trio of top-10 prospects.
Blanding trains with Brown weekly at 757 Sports Academy, along with fellow 2014 Top247 standouts Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor defensive Jalyn Holmes (No. 39), Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan wide receiver Jamil Kamara (No. 96), and Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.
Kamara and Holmes were both present at Blanding's announcement ceremony.
"Seeing those guys come out and show the support that they did was big for me. Don't worry, they're going to be hearing all about UVa from me. I'm going from being pursued to being the pursuer."
The Bayside star, who was recruited by UVa assistant Chip West, is the second prospect to commit to Virginia in the 2014 class, joining Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian Academy defensive tackle Chris Nelson.
When asked what was going to happen when he takes the field for the Cavaliers against Virginia Tech for the first time, Blanding didn't hesitate ...
"We're going to win."