Virginia brings a ton of defensive talent to the class of 2014, with six recruits headed to Beaverson, Ore., for Nike's The Opening.
They include the top four prospects in the state per 247's composite, including Virginia DB commit Quin Blanding, Ohio State DE commit Jalyn Holmes, and uncommitted defensive tackle Andrew Brown. But far and away the player the most eyes will be on is Da'Shawn Hand, considered by many to be the top player at any position in the country. The defensive end has offers from 40 schools, and will look to show why he's so highly touted at The Opening. It's his second year headed to The Opening, and although eventually choose between Alabama, Florida, and Michigan, for now, we'll just have to wait.
Here's the six players headed to Portland, plus their biographies provided by The Opening.
DB Quin Blanding (@TakeOver_7), 6-2, 205
Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
Blanding made 111 tackles with five INTs to earn The Beach District Defensive Player of the Year. He also had 1,035 yards at wide receiver with six TDs to lead the Eastern Region in receiving. Blanding will stay instate to play at the next level as he committed to Virginia over offers from Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.
DB M.J. Stewart (@PhillyBoy_Marv), 5-11, 190
Arlington (Va.) Yorktown
Stewart was a Class AAA All-State pick because of his prolific stats on both sides of the ball: at running back he rushed for 1,842 yards with 28 TDs and also had 323 yards receiving and four more scores. As a defensive back Steward recorded 52 tackles and 10 INTs. In addition, he also had three punt returns for scores. He has offers from several favorites including Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
DB C.J. Reavis (@C_Reavis11), 6-0.5, 200
Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale
Reavis recorded 107 tackles, 17 pass breakups, three sacks and two interceptions last year and emerged from a strong pack of DB's at the DC NFTC to take home an Opening invite. Reavis has committed to Virginia Tech over offers from Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt and Virginia among others.
DT Andrew Brown (@DrizoBeats), 6-4, 290
Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Brown turned in one of the most impressive NFTC performances for a defensive linemen this year and will pick between Virginia, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Clemson and Florida State before getting on his plane to The Opening.
DL Da'Shawn Hand (@TheHand54), 6-4, 265
Hand is a returner to The Opening. As a junior he totaled 16 sacks and 78 tackles to earn 1st team Washington Post All-Metro honors. Hand has nearly 40 offers and lists Alabama, Florida, and Michigan as programs he favors.
DE Jalyn Holmes (@JayHolmes_), 6-5, 235
Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor
He was Class AAA All-State at TE where he caught 24 passes for 351 yards and seven scores. On defense he had 78 tackles and 11 sacks and helped the Titans win the Div. Five state title. Holmes committed to Ohio State in June over offers that included North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.