Commitment Spotlight: Tay Bender

Tavarius "Tay" Bender, out of Lincoln Southwest High School in Nebraska, became commitment No. 1 for the Kansas State Wildcats Class of 2012. The talented quarterback prospect decided he was ready to make his pledge after an eye-opening Junior Day visit in Manhattan. Bender talked in-depth of college choice.

"It was one of those things where I had a feeling inside that this is the place for me," said Tay Bender. "I felt at home. Coach Snyder is a great guy. They have a great football history, tremendous fan support, and excellent facilities. I was very impressed with the academics Kansas State has to offer as well. I think I'll fit well in the program."

This was Bender's first visit to Manhattan, Kansas. He sat down with his father, Jeremy Bender a former Nebraska Cornhusker, and his family when he got home to let them know he'd made a decision. "It was getting to be overwhelming," Bender said of the recruiting process. "I was getting a lot of letters, calls, and people were constantly asking me where I was going to go to school. I told my family I wanted to go to Kansas State, and they all agreed it would be a good fit for me. Then I called Coach Snyder and told him I wanted to be a Wildcat. He and Coach Del (Miller) were both very excited."

This was Bender's first season as the starting quarterback at Lincoln Southwest. He played wide receiver and cornerback as a sophomore. In his first season under center since JV, Bender threw for close to 1,000 yards on the season and ran for 800 leading the Silver Hawks to the first round of the state playoffs. He received All-State honorable mention. His position coach is his uncle, Scott Bender.

"It's great," said Bender of being coached by his uncle. "I love it because we're very competitive with each other. He played quarterback as well. He pushes me to keep getting better. He'll text me to say they're watching film and come over. It works well. He's a great motivator."

Bender, 6-4, 208, had offers from Ohio, Tulane, and Nebraska (as an athlete). His recruiting status greatly increased this past summer with a good showing at an Elite 11 camp and a Nike camp, both in Fort Worth, Texas. Quarterback is the position Bender wants to play at the next level and has one more year at Southwest to further up his game.

"My uncle always tells me to never be satisfied, to continue to work to be better," said Bender. "I want to work on my fundamentals. Instead of a making 4-step drop in the pocket, always make a 5-step drop. I want to continue to get better at reading defenses. Most of all I want to lead my team to a state championship."

Although Bender is now firmly committed to Kansas State, he's not resting on his laurels and wants to continue to hone his craft at quarterback. In the coming months he plans on attending various camps including a camp at Kansas State. Bender thinks his style will fit well into what Kansas State likes to do and wants to fully prepare for the challenge ahead.

"I'm looking forward to working with Coach Del," said Bender. "The offense is set up for a quarterback to run and pass, and that's what I do best. I can drop back, make a deep throw or roll out and make a pass on the run or I can just take off with it.

"When I get up there I'm not sure how the depth charts going to be, but I'm going to work my tail off and see where that gets me. If it gets me playing time that would be great, if not, then I'll wait for my turn. I just want to go in and prove I can play."

Bender is also the punter/kicker for Linclon Southwest. He had a 37 yards-per-punt average on the season. He had 12-of-18 touchbacks and made five field goals including a 53 yarder. He was named All-City at kicker for his performance. Bender excels in the classroom with a 3.6 GPA. He plans on studying respiratory therapy at Kansas State.

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