He may be only a rising junior but this standout defensive back and wide receiver is used to big events like Gridiron Kings. Blanding is one of two 2014 recruits in this weekend's event at Disney World.
"It's my third big event with the older guys," Blanding said. "I was at The Opening so I am familiar with the guys and know what to expect. For me, I get to play with the best of the best. It's just a lot of fun for me."
Blanding, 6-foot-2 and 185-pounds, stars on both sides of the ball. He's made an impact in the secondary and as a receiver.
"Really though I am a defensive guy," Blanding said. "I can cover, I can roam and I can play in the flats. I can come up and strike you and make a ton of tackles."
There's a reason why he's already one of the most coveted recruits in his class. According to Blanding, he's sitting on 23 scholarship offers already.
"Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia (first offer), Virginia Tech, and North Carolina are just some of the schools that have offered me," Blanding said. "I am pretty open to the process. I have a while. There are teams like Ohio State, Virginia, Alabama, Miami and Auburn that I would like to see this fall."
Blanding was one of several standouts in day one of the Gridiron Kings. Here are some more from Saturday.
Kendall Fuller (Onley, Md./Good Counsel) CB
Fuller is a smooth defensive back recruit with speed and athleticism. This kid showed great ball skills with a pick on Saturday.
Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) DB
Rangy safety covers a lot of ground in the secondary and even played some corner at times.
Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton) S
Hagreaves played safety for the day and showed why he's a versatile defensive back that's tough to beat.
Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) S
Harris had several pass breakups and just had a very good day for the Southwest secondary.
O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autuaga Academy) TE
Howard continues to impress on the summer circuit, showcasing his combination of size, athleticism and hands.
Travis Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Jesuit) TE
Like Howard above Johnson is a mismatch for the defense because of the way he uses his body and Johnson has unreal hands.
Will Likely (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central)
He's not the biggest corner out there but somehow is always around the ball making plays.
Leon McQuay (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) S
McQuay had an interception in each of the South's first two games, showing great range from his safety position.
Taquan Mizzell (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside)
This running back recruit has blazing speed and good hands out of the backfield.
Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) QB
Big arm is obvious but accuracy was very good as well.
Jake Oliver? (Dallas, Texas/Jesuit College Prep) WR
Big, physical receiver who catches everything thrown near him.
Kevin Palma (Tulare, Calif./Mission Oak) LB
Plays with a non-stop motor and showed a lot of athleticism chasing down plays all over the field.
A.J. Richardson (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) RB
Most consistent receiver for the West squad and has as good a hands as you'll see.
Maurice Smith (Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles)
He's a big and physical cornerback that had a great interception against the southeast team on a deep route where he showed excellent speed and concentration.
Tony Stevens (Orlando, Fla.Evans) WR
This Florida State commit was impressive in all three games on Saturday, showcasing his ability to get deep and concentration and body control around the sideline.
Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) WR
Big, fast and showed great hands as Morris' top target.
Levonte Whitfield? (Orlando, Fla./Jones) WR
One of the more versatile players in the event and made big plays on both sides of the ball.
Johnson to make visits
Miami commitment Travis Johnson will make official visits to see some others schools. It sounds as if five schools are be given serious consideration.
"Michigan State, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Clemson and USC are some teams I know I would like to visit," Johnson said. "I am committed to Miami but I want to venture out and see some other out of state schools that I have never had a chance to see before."
Johnson insists this was his plan all along.
"I was going to make all my [official] visits any way," Johnson said. "It has nothing to do with what is going on at Miami."
Twin talks recruiting
San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln athlete Tyrell Robinson said he and his twin brother Tyree have 10 schools on their list and are a definite package deal.
"Schools are recruiting me at outside linebacker and my brother as an athlete," Robinson said. "Tyree is a freak at receiver, safety and corner, he can do it all. Unfortunately, he fractured his foot but he'll be ready to go by the season.
"Right now, we still have a pretty big list of schools and we both want to play football and basketball in college. The schools we like are Oregon, Washington, USC, Missouri, Notre Dame, Miami, San Diego State, UCLA, Arizona State and there's one more I'm forgetting. We plan to cut it to five, take our official visits and then we'll be ready to make a decision."
Jack to take trips
Bellevue (Wash.) linebacker Myles Jack committed a few months back to UCLA but said he still wants to take all five official visits before Signing Day.
"UCLA knows I want to do visits and actually encouraged me to do so," Jack said. "I want to second guess anything so they're fine with it. Oregon just offered two weeks ago and I'm going to check them out for sure along with Arizona State, Utah, Georgia Tech and maybe South Carolina.
"I want to get back to UCLA for a visit as well and I'll do an unofficial visit to Washington. I'm still solid to UCLA though, schools are still recruiting me but I'm going to be watching a lot of football this season, going to some games and just go through the recruiting process a little more."
Linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) said early Saturday that there was a chance he could commit on Sunday.
"I decided to hold off," Mitchell said. "I have Texas A&M, Florida State and Ohio State on my list but I haven't visited Ohio State yet. After I check them out, I could be ready to make my decision."
News & Notes
• Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln running back Justin Davis had a brief scare when he collided with an opposing player and went down holding his hamstring. It actually turned out to be his shin that was bruised.
"I'm not sure what I hit but I hit something hard," Davis said. "It hurt to walk but I think I'll be OK to play Sunday. It's bruised and sore but I think I'll be fine."
• In Saturday's pool play, the Southeast finished 3-0, earning top seed honors for Sunday. The Midwest, Southwest and West all finished the day at 1-2.
• In three games on Saturday, the Southeast defense on gave up one touchdown and had two shutouts.