Nobody ever doubted Michael Bandy’s work ethic.
His determination to be a better football player and his drive to make his body as strong and fast as possible defined Bandy dating back to his early days at Servite High School.
What nobody expected were the offensive numbers Bandy piled up as a wide receiver for the University of San Diego this fall.
Bandy drew national attention on Nov. 10 when he caught 10 passes for a school-record 324 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in a wild 56-52 comeback win against visiting Davidson. The victory clinched a seventh straight Pioneer League championship for the Toreros.
San Diego travelled to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. the following weekend and Bandy had five catches for 127 yards in a 31-24 win against Marist. That gave him 1,554 receiving yards on the season, breaking the previous single-season school record that stood since 2008.
“The kid is an animal,” said San Diego quarterback Anthony Lawrence.
Bandy was known as a workhorse during his time at Servite.
He played football and baseball all four years for the Friars, and also took the time to cheer on other teams as a member of Servite’s well-known student cheering section, “The Asylum.”
Bandy also participated in a campus program called Youth Lifting, which introduces middle school athletes to lifting and weight room techniques while preparing them for the training regimens expected of high school athletes.
Bandy wasn’t even the leading receiver for the Friars during his senior season in 2015, finishing with 16 catches for 309 yards, though he did catch a team-leading four touchdowns.
Bandy thought he would play baseball at San Diego when he committed to the Toreros, but the adrenaline rush that accompanied playing wide receiver lured him into football full time.
Bandy only played sparingly as a freshman at San Diego. His sophomore season was filled with injuries, as he missed four games recovering from a broken thumb, sprained ankle and bruised kidney.
“Being hurt last year was tough,” Bandy said. “Watching on the sidelines. … Seeing my teammates battling on their own. … Being home on road games.”
Bandy was expected to take on a bigger role this season after the graduation of San Diego’s leading receiver a year ago, but he surprised just about everyone when he caught eight passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening 38-9 win against Western New Mexico.
Two weeks later, he caught 12 passes for 202 yards against Harvard.
Bandy didn’t score a touchdown in that game, but he scored at least one in the next seven, capped by his record-breaking performance against Davidson, which led 31-7 early in the second quarter before Bandy led the comeback.
“We thought as a freshman he’d be a solid player, but by no means did we think he’d be this good his junior year,” said San Diego co-offensive coordinator Christian Taylor. “He just works harder than anybody else.”
Bandy doesn’t skip any days in the weight room, and is often the first player on the practice field and the last one to leave, but he also prides himself on being a well-rounded a receiver.
“That starts with deep balls, short passes, making people miss after the catch,” he said. “And I definitely like to get in there and block.”