Entering the 2013 season, Christopher Columbus High School was coming off of its second consecutive state final four appearance.
Seniors who ended up playing Division 1 FBS football such as Jesus Wilson graduated, and many opportunities were available for players to step up. Rather than the focus being placed on a senior to step up; however, much of the coach’s attention lied on an incoming freshman in the class of 2017.
For four years I attended Christopher Columbus High School and covered the team, watching young players develop over the course of their career.
During the school’s annual “Midnight Madness” event signifying the Explorer’s first official practice of the season, I noticed many expectations were being placed on a freshman who hadn’t even had his first class in high school yet, Trajan Bandy.
At that point the world did not know this cornerback would become a top recruit in a couple of years, but to those who followed his career from the start, there was no doubt Bandy was destined for great things.
Bandy was the only freshman on the varsity team once the 2013 season began, an accomplishment few players at Columbus obtain. Unlike most freshman, there was not many mistakes made by Bandy in his first couple of appearances, and his impact was felt from the moment he stepped onto the field.
In a flash Bandy made his presence known, stepping onto the turf for a good volume of snaps in the Explorer’s second game of the season against Belen. The matchup is a huge rivalry game that has been played at FIU stadium for the last couple of years, and a big stage for any freshman.
When the lights were on though, Bandy showed his potential on the field. The 5’9” cornerback is often criticized for his height, but on one down, Bandy made it clear that his size is a factor he will overcome.
It was a simple play that caught my attention, not a flashy interception or a ground breaking fumble return, but a move that proved he belonged.
Belen had the ball near the red zone and made it a point to attack the freshman Bandy on a play that tried to exploit his size mismatch.
The quarterback threw up a lob into the end zone with one-on-one coverage, and the Wolverines’ receiver attempted to high point the ball and put a touchdown on the board.
It was a situation most 5’9” cornerbacks may back down from, and fail to knock the ball loose.
In that moment; however, Bandy showed he wasn’t just another 5’9” cornerback. The freshman deflected the pass, and kept 6 points off the board, maintaining Columbus’ shutout.
The average critic may say I made too much of that play, and that it was just one good deflection by a player with the odds stacked against him.
Over the course of Bandy’s career thus far at Columbus, he not only proved those doubters wrong, but also showed he is one of the best defensive backs in Miami-Dade County.
Bandy earned First Team All-Dade honors given by the Miami Herald during his junior season, and was one of only 166 players invited to Nike’s annual elite prospect event “The Opening,” held in Oregon.
Bandy is set to have another great season in 2016, and is looking to lead Columbus to its first state championship in school history. The senior cornerback is focused on this season in high school, but Miami Hurricanes fans can’t help but look towards his future career in Coral Gables.
Bandy is ranked #269 on the ESPN 300 recruiting list, and is currently ranked as the 26th best cornerback in the country. Those critical of him will once again point to his size as a concern in Miami’s thin secondary, but if his high school mentality and career have taught us anything, it is that against all odds, Trajan Bandy will rise to the occasion.