The Virginia football team’s tumultuous offseason, in which Mike London significantly shook up his coaching staff, hasn’t affected the program’s recruiting efforts in the talent-rich Tidewater area.
London received huge news Wednesday afternoon when safety Quin Blanding, a consensus five-star recruit, orally committed to Virginia during a news conference at his high school in Virginia Beach, picking the Cavaliers over Florida State and Ohio State.
Blanding, considered the No. 4 prospect in the nation by Rivals, is the highest-rated recruit to commit to Virginia since the recruiting Web site began tracking such things back in 2002. He will join the Cavaliers in 2014.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound safety was dominant on both sides of the ball last year as a junior at Bayside High, finishing with 111 tackles and five interceptions as a defensive back and 55 catches for 1,035 yards and six touchdowns as a wide receiver. This past summer, he was one of four juniors in the country invited to “The Opening,” a prestigious all-star camp in Oregon organized by Nike.
Bayside High has become a pipeline for London, who is not allowed to publicly comment on Blanding’s commitment until National Signing Day next February because of NCAA recruiting rules. Earlier this month, Bayside High running back Taquan Mizzell signed a national letter-of-intent with Virginia, becoming the school’s first five-star recruit since 2005.
In addition, the Cavaliers already had former Bayside products such as cornerback Demetrious Nicholson, linebacker Henry Coley and defensive back Anthony Cooper on their roster.
Blanding is one of six recruits from the state of Virginia ranked among Rivals’ top 100 prospects this year. Defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand of Woodbridge is considered the top 2014 player in the country.