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Quin Blanding returning for senior season

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The All-American safety will remain in Charlottesville for one more year.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia football fans got a belated Christmas gift Monday afternoon, as safety Quin Blanding announced that he will return for his senior season in Charlottesville.

“I am fully committed to coach Bronco Mendenhall, [defensive coordinator and secondary 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,” Blanding said in a release on VirginiaSports.com.

“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,” he continued.

Blanding was a 5-star prospect coming out of Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, rated as the nation’s top safety prospect by Rivals. A consensus first-team All-ACC player in 2016, Blanding also earned second-team All-American honors from The Sporting News. He is Virginia’s ninth all-time leading tackler with 358.

Micah Kiser also announced earlier this month his intention to play his senior year at UVa. The return of arguably the two most formidable defensive threats that the Cavaliers have on that side of the ball should provide a lift to the team as they take aim at their first winning season and bowl appearance since 2011.