[rl]Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside defensive back Quin Blanding is one of the top prospects in the class of 2014 regardless of position. And early in the process, with more than a year left before he has to sign his LOI, he has a top 10. Here's his breakdown of each school.
"My top 10, in no order, is Florida State, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio State, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Miami, Clemson, N.C. State and Michigan," said the 6-foot-2, 196-pounder who has offers from all of his top 10 as well as nearly 20 more schools. "I like all of them because of the coaches, the program and the bond I have developed so far."
It is clear that Blanding is more familiar with some of his top 10 than others, but he breaks down what he likes about each.
Florida State -- "I like the coaches, all of the coaches but especially coach Haggins and I like the way they play defense and how they use the safeties."
Virginia -- "I have a really close relationship with the coaches and some of the players there. It's a nice campus and there is a comfort level I have there. It feels like family at UVa."
North Carolina -- "I just took a visit there and it was nice, it really showed me the atmosphere and I got to meet some of the players and they were great."
Ohio State -- "I've talked to Urban Meyer and he's an impressive person and I really like coach Zach Smith, we have a good bond. Ohio State is playing at a high level and I like that."
Notre Dame -- "It's about the defense there, they are playing great defense and the kind of defense in crunch time that makes you want to be on the field. I need to learn more about them, but that defense is impressive."
West Virginia -- "It's a great program that is in the building process on defense and I think I could be one of those guys that helps be a building block for the defense, to make it more physical."
Miami -- "I like the way they play at a fast pace all the time, getting to see their two-a-days before the season on TV and watching a few of their games, they play fast. They also have a great tradition at defensive back and my favorite player has always been Ed Reed."
Clemson -- "I have a bit of a relationship with coach Venables that I want to continue and they play solid defense and it's a great program. I'm interested in learning more about them."
NC State -- "Coach Willis is a good guy and we have a good bond and I feel good about the way they play defense, especially in the secondary and the way they develop their defensive backs."
Michigan -- "It's a solid school and a great program on both sides of the ball and they are recruiting well. Like Clemson, I really want to learn more about them."
There are Bayside connections to two schools and Blanding admits it doesn't hurt either program.
"Obviously we have Smoke (Taquan Mizzell) going to Virginia and Coop (Anthony Cooper) and Demetrious Nicholson are already there, that's why it feels like family at Virginia already," he said. "And I didn't get to play with E.J. Manuel or really get to know him, but knowing he went down to FSU from Bayside and is playing big-time now is nice, it's good to see someone can do that."
As for leaders, Blanding does not have any at this point and time and doesn't know when his next cut will be.
"It will happen when I feel it, but I have no plan for it right now," he said. "I don't have any upcoming visits planned yet either, we are heading into the playoffs and that's my focus. After the season I will see if there are any trips I want to make."