Long became the 13th pick by the Reds after doing it all for the Golden Eagles this past spring. The utility player, who bats left-handed and throws right, hit near .500 this past season, helping Jacksonville reach the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Long signed with Northwest Florida State College, formerly known as Okaloosa-Walton Community College, before his senior season, and will enroll if he does not agree on a contract with Cincinnati.
Blanchard was the second player with Calhoun County ties taken in the draft, going to the Rays in the 15th round.
Blanchard's advisor has a verbal agreement on terms with the team and Blanchard is expected to sign with the American League club by the middle of the week, his father Fran said.
“It was definitely a rush,” Blanchard said. “I was sitting there listening to (the draft) and got a call from my advisor who said, ‘Congratulations, Tampa Bay just drafted you.’ I was like, ‘No they haven’t.’ Then it came up. It was awesome.”
Blanchard played all four infield positions and some outfield for the Gamecocks this past season. He was listed as a second baseman in the draft list.
He had a formal workout with the Rays in Tampa earlier in the week.
“It was definitely a good workout,” Blanchard said. “Obviously they saw something they liked. I’m glad me and dad went down there. It probably wouldn’t have turned out like this.”
The Giants had called him shortly before his advisor called with the Tampa news. The Royals and Reds also were said to be interested.
In 2010 Blanchard was a 41st-round pick for the Baltimore Orioles, but elected to go to Jax State instead.
Blanchard also plays quarterback on the JSU football team and has one year of eligibility in that sport remaining. He said before the draft his plan was to play in the fall, but that now that option rests in what the Rays allow him to do, father Fran, a former JSU football player, said.
Sports writers Brandon Miller and Al Muskewitz contributed reporting.