Cornerback Trajan Bandy of Miami Columbus High committed to the University of Miami on Monday. About an hour after his announcement, a special visitor arrived at the Bandy household.
The late great Sean Taylor’s half-brother, Jamal Johnson, stopped by with a couple of meaningful items — Taylor’s 2002 game-worn national championship jersey and the amber-color visor that was No. 26’s signature on the field.
“Jamal pulled up to the house with the jersey and said he wanted Trajan to take some pictures with it on. He said nobody had touched or worn it since his passing in 2007,” said Bandy’s father, Jeff. “Sean’s grandmother lives five houses down from us, so he grew up around that family.”
“When I put it the jersey on, I can’t even explain how it felt,” Trajan Bandy said. “Just touching it — it was exciting and special.”
The four-star prospect — ranked 29th at his position in the country by 247sports.com — has formed a bond with Johnson. According to Jeff Bandy, the two frequently watch Taylor’s highlights together.
“I had tears in my eyes. His brother is still emotional about Sean’s death,” said Jeff Bandy. “He told me he wanted somebody of Trajan’s character and ability to play football to wear it. He loves Trajan and hopefully he can sort of fill the void for him.”
And although Bandy is not allowed to wear the colored visor during games in high school and college, he says that he plans on wearing it for practice at Miami.
Miami’s staff offered Bandy a scholarship in May after evaluating him this spring. He had been committed to Oklahoma before pulling his pledge on July 18th.
Jeff Bandy said former Miami coach Al Golden came to see his son play last year, and Golden told him that he “needed to grow another inch” to receive an offer from Miami.
“That kind of broke his heart,” Jeff Bandy said. “From that point, he was really on a mission with a chip on his shoulder.”
The “family” feel of Mark Richt and the Miami’s coaching staff was a huge draw for the Bandy family.
Last month, when Miami’s “paradise camp” coincided with Trajan’s trip to Oregon for Nike’s The Opening, Canes coaches invited Jeff to campus for the weekend.
“Coach Richt comes across as a Christian brother and he’s genuine and trustworthy. You can believe everything coming out of his mouth and you don’t get that at all these other schools,” Jeff Bandy said.
“Since the day they offered me, they’ve been on me every single day. Every single time I go out there, I get the feeling of home,” said Trajan.
The end of the recruiting journey seems to be finished for Bandy, who said that he won’t take any official visits other than Miami per the request of the Canes coaches. The last few months of coaches chasing the tenacious defensive back had even worn on his father.
“I’m excited because I have a chance to get my son back. This recruiting process can be overwhelming. It got to the point that Trajan would send his recruiters to my DMs [direct messages], so I’m glad he got it done,” Jeff Bandy said.