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Bayside alumnus Quin Blanding to return to UVA for senior year

Quin Blanding and Bryce Hall react after a defensive play against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. (Photo: Lance King/Getty Images)

Quin Blanding and Bryce Hall react after a defensive play against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. (Photo: Lance King/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Cavalier free safety Quin Blanding, a Bayside High School alumnus, announced Monday he would return to Virginia for his senior season in 2017.

“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to stay at the University of Virginia and complete my fourth year,” Blanding said. “I am fully committed to coach Bronco Mendenhall, coach Nick Howell and the entire coaching staff and the program they are building. I am committed to my teammates and want to help lead my team to a bowl game while at UVA.

“My focus has been and will continue to be helping the team get better and growing as a player. I look forward to having the opportunity to play in the NFL in the future, but my immediate focus right now is my team and contributing to a winning season in 2017. Go Hoos.”

Tight end Scott Orndoff wrestles with safety Quin Blanding. (Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Tight end Scott Orndoff wrestles with safety Quin Blanding. (Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Blanding had submitted his named to the National Football League’s College Advisory Committee for evaluation regarding potential early entry for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Committee, which includes high-level personnel evaluators from NFL clubs and directors from the league’s two sanctioned scouting organizations (National Football Scouting and BLESTO), advises underclassmen on their draft prospects before they make a formal request to the league to join the Draft.

Blanding ranks No. 2 in the ACC and No. 10 in the nation with 10.0 tackles per game. Blanding recorded 120 tackles in 2016, which ranks No. 7 in the nation. His 10.0 tackles per game average and 120 total tackles are the most in the nation by a defensive back. Blanding has finished No. 2 in the ACC in tackles three seasons in a row, twice behind Kiser.

Virginia Cavaliers (Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images )

Virginia Cavaliers (Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images )

He was voted first-team All-ACC by the league’s media and also earned first-team all-league honors from the ACC head coaches, the Associated Press and Phil Steele Football. He was named a second-team All-American by The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated and Athlon Sports tabbed him a fourth-team All-American. The Touchdown Club of Richmond named him its Defensive Back of the Year Award winner for the state of Virginia.

Blanding will enter his senior season No. 9 all-time at UVA with 358 career tackles, which will be the most among all returning FBS players next season.

Earlier this month, junior inside linebacker Micah Kiser (Baltimore, Md.) announced he would return to UVA for his senior season. Kiser ranks No. 1 in the ACC and is tied for No. 3 in the nation with 11.2 tackles per game. His 134 total stops rank No. 2 in the nation and is tied with Wali Rainer for the fourth-most single-season tackles in program history. Kiser also ranks No. 4 in the nation in forced fumbles (five) and No. 2 in the ACC and No. 10 in the nation in sacks by a linebacker (6.5).

Kiser was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. Kiser was also voted first-team All-ACC by the league’s media and earned first-team all-league honors from the ACC head coaches. The FWAA and Phil Steele named Kiser a second-team All-American, while College Sports Madness named him a third-team All-American. Kiser has 251 combined tackles over the last two seasons.