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September 4, 2013

Blanding heading to Under Armour All-American Game

MORE: Five-star Robinson picks Alabama

During his freshman season at Bayside High School, Quin Blanding was a two-way starter on a team that won the Eastern Region championship and advanced to the state semifinals before ending their season winning 13 of 14 contests.

It was clear early on that the 6-foot-2, 208-pound five-star safety was a special player. He's spent the last three years dominating most games in which he played in the Tidewater area of Virginia while also proving himself at a number of camps to be one of best prospects in the nation.

On Wednesday evening after practice, as his team prepares to take onPrincess Anne High School in their second game of the season, the Marlins' standout received his jersey for the 2014 Under Armour All-American game to which he committed. The contest will be played on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"It's just an honor to know that all my hard work is finally paying off. My mom always told me, and my dad too, 'always keep working hard and good things will come, so it's an honor,'" said Blanding after the ceremony.

In 2012, Blanding was named the Beach District Defensive Player of the Year after recording 111 tackles, five interceptions, three blocked kicks andtwo fumble recoveries. Additionally, he totaled 1,035 yards and six touchdowns playing wide receiver. All told, in three years on the high school gridiron, the standout has collected 15 interceptions on defense and added 97 receptions for 1,715 yards and 15 touchdowns on offense. Most importantly, his team has won 30 of 37 contests.

"He's been a worker and he's coachable," says former Bayside head coach Darnell Moore. "That desire to win has always been there and it hasn't diminished at all. On top of all that, he's still who he was when he was a nobody. He hasn't let success to to his head. He's been a good teammate and an ambassador for Bayside High School."

After his senior season, which opened with a 29-10 victory over Landstown High School last Friday night, Blandingwill take his talents to Virginia; he committed to the Cavaliers in late February.

"It's a great thing that I'm going to Virginia because now, looking at the BYU game last weekend, the defense had a really great game with the new defensive coordinator there. I like the aggressive defense that they were playing so I really feel like it fits me now."

Both at the Under Armour All-American Game and in Charlottesville, Blanding willbe teaming up with fellow five-star Tidewater standout Andrew Brown from Oscar SmithHigh School, the nation's top-ranked safety.

"That's like brother, for real. We grew up with the same family and playing on the same teams so me and him are really close together."

Between now and the Under Armour game, Blanding is focusing on his senior season and preparing himself for the next level.

"Just to stay healthy and to finish strong. Go out with a bang just like all the other people who graduated here."

Football Editor Rod Johnson is now entering his tenth year with VirginiaPreps.com having first written for the site in 2003. To keep up with even more high school football news in Virginia, follow him on Twitter @vaprepsrod or find him on Facebook under "VirginiaPreps Rod Johnson". He can also be contacted via e-mail at vaprepsrod@cox.net.



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