Austin Bland talks Wake Forest visit

St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale produces top student athletes every year and has established itself as one of the premier high school programs in the nation. Five signed with Ivy League colleges in February and with top FBS programs like Florida, Miami, and Illinois. STA offensive lineman Austin Bland talks of the pursuit of Wake Forest.

"The top four schools showing me interest are Florida State, Arkansas, Georgia, and Wake Forest," said Austin Bland. "I've talked to Coach Mac and Coach Himebauch. Coach Himebauch said he really loves my film. They'd like to see me in person before they offer, but I'm not going to be participating in spring practice due to an injury. Coach Mac said maybe they can see me play during summertime. I think they're close to offering."

Bland was just at the Winston-Salem campus for the Demon Deacon annual Spring Game held April 14th on BB&T Field.

"My Dad and I drove up to South Carolina to watch a practice then we went to Wake Forest," Bland said. "Friday we toured the campus. Coach Mac showed me around the school. Saturday I was talking with Coach Himebauch for awhile. I got to speak with Coach Grobe for about 10 minutes before the game.

"I liked [Wake Forest] is a big school in the ACC, but it isn't huge. I think there are only about 4,000 students. Everything I'd need is within walking distance. The football dorms, the practice field, and even the stadium are all close together."

Bland, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound offensive guard, received two offers during the middle of his junior year from Cincinnati and Purdue. There's one school other interested parties should be wary of because Bland has always dreamt of playing in Garnet and Gold.

"Florida State is my number one school," said Bland. "If they were to offer I'd commit right away. I've been a 'Noles fan and have been watching them play ever since I was a little kid.

"I like Arkansas too. I hear from their offensive line coach all the time. It doesn't matter to me who the head coach is as long as the offensive line coach stays, and I believe he will.

"I'm looking for a program that feels like home where I love the atmosphere. Having a position coach I get along well with is also very important to me. I'm planning on going to some one day camps over the summer and see what offers I receive. I'd like to be ready to make my commitment before my senior year."

Bland has started at right tackle for the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders since two games into his sophomore season. Many of the schools recruiting him are interested in making him into a center in college. He's asked STA head coach Rocco Casullo for reps at the position this fall.

Bland was recently invited to play in the third-annual Team USA vs. the World All-Star game in Austin, Texas.

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