The only returning starter in the secondary from last season and a leader on Miami’s defense, cornerback Trajan Bandy has a lot of eyes on him for 2019, and for good reason.
This time last year, we knew Bandy because of his pick-six against Notre Dame and solid freshman play, though we wondered if he could become a consistent starter in the Hurricanes defense. He answered that question with his play, and that answer was a resounding yes.
Even with new starting faces around him this upcoming season, Bandy is still the same lockdown corner he was in 2018, as he helped form the number-one pass defense in the country.
Miami CB Trajan Bandy gets beat off the release, but does a great job reading the QB and recovering to make the INT. A name to watch in the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/9pIToBUZza— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) April 28, 2019
And while UM’s defense was dominating as a whole, Bandy established himself was one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC, as well as the nation in 2018.
Trajan Bandy stepped up last year for the Canes and could have a big season. pic.twitter.com/wWsYG5gDVy— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 22, 2019
Last season, Bandy was one of Miami’s breakout stars, earning All-ACC third-team honors, and becoming a household name for the Canes.
Starting all 13 games in 2018, Bandy totaled three interceptions (tied for 1st on team), two fumble recoveries, eight passes defended (1st on team) and 36 tackles. Whether it was in coverage or in the open field tackling, the Dade County native became a near sure-thing for Miami.
Trajan Bandy in coverage pic.twitter.com/T38iSLhdSS— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 2, 2019
Now as a junior, he’s become top-dog of the secondary, when just last season he was the youngest of all four. Michael Jackson, Sheldrick Redwine and Jaquan Johnson, all veteran starters who were there beside Bandy last year, they’re all gone to the NFL.
With a new defensive coordinator, mentoring three brand new starters opposite corner and safety, Bandy has continued to be the same workhorse and example that turned him into a leader for the Hurricanes in 2018.
*from our new strength coach*— Make Miami Football Great Again (@Team__305) February 9, 2019
The leaders in the weight room?
He points to Trajan Bandy (“we’re almost ready to throw that guy out of here - he wants to come in twice a day every day, is doing extra workouts - that’s what you want”)
Though most people know Trajan for plays like this:
Happy Birthday, Trajan Bandy! pic.twitter.com/D2VCve3Kqh— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) June 4, 2019
I'm sure if you ask Bandy himself, he’s just as proud with these two plays against UNC last season, where he demonstrated perfect tackling, absolutely rocking Tar Heel receivers on back-to-back plays.
Of all the fun defensive plays from last night, this back to back sequence from Trajan Bandy was incredible pic.twitter.com/rh0jDjegfa— Chris Wittyngham (@ChrisWittyngham) September 28, 2018
That’s a huge part why Bandy is so beloved by Canes fans, he’s a quiet guy and does his job, and does it extremely well. And along the way, he’s showing the younger guys the ropes.
The Hurricanes lost three starters in their secondary from a year ago.— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) March 20, 2019
CB Trajan Bandy talks about the youngsters in the backend of the defense. pic.twitter.com/pZ3nE1abw2
Now, let’s talk actual logistics and how the 2019 season is looking for Bandy. Just recently, the hometown grown kid, along with defensive teammates Jonathan Garvin, Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman, were all named to Athlon’s first-team preseason all-ACC defense.
No doubt it’s bright for Trajan, though with #2 coming off a solid year, look for opposing teams to target the other corners, mainly sophomores D.J. Ivey and Al Blades Jr.
Add in new starters at safety like Gurvan Hall, Amari Carter and Bubba Bolden, and Bandy’s veteran leadership and skill-set are absolutely crucial to Miami keeping their reputation as a dominant defense.
One thing that is certain about Bandy, is that he’s a playmaker, and can change a game just like that. It’s not a surprise that he put on the Turnover Chain five times in 2018, he’s always making plays.
Standing at 5-9, Bandy has been doubted, and outside of Coral Gables, he probably isn’t getting the recognition he deserves, but “Muddy Badger” isn’t going to yell, he just lets his game speak for itself.