Bandel Feeling the Heat

<b>Ben Bandel</b> is still in the throes of getting through his senior season of playing football, but in the back of his head he's already thinking about where he's going to be this same time next year. While colleges aren't necessarily putting the pressure on, he's feeling some nonetheless.

"Actually, I feel a little pressure," Ben told

"I want to wait around and see if any other schools are going to offer, but I really want to go to Washington. I don't want my scholarship for tight end to be taken at Washington, if I wait too long."

The 6-7, 250-pound athlete is keeping his head in the game as best he can, especially now that he's back to being 100 percent. "We just advanced to the Division 5 playoffs," said Bandel. "We beat Chaparral and we play Rancho Verde Friday." Ben caught 2 balls for 40 yards, and expects to do more tomorrow. "I'm playing pretty good right now. I was injured a while ago (sprained ankle), and I'm just getting over that injury. I'm going to come out strong and do some things to win the game on Friday."

Ben has a great support group to help him through the rigors of attending school, playing ball and dealing with recruiting at the same time. "It's kind of hard," he said. "I have my parents and people around me that can help me deal with it. And at school I have coaches and teachers that can give me extra time and work with me to help me do well in school. They are real understanding and are helping me with the choices that need to be made. I just have a good group of people that are around me helping me."

And while the process didn't necessarily catch Bandel unaware, he is a little taken aback by the speed in which things have progressed. "Actually it's surprising how fast it's happening," he said. "I didn't think it would happen until after the season, but it's happening right now. Schools want me to visit right now and there's a lot of pressure to perform well."

Washington, Oregon State and Arizona currently top his visit list. "I've set up a trip to Washington for December 14th and that's all so far."
,br> But he knows he needs to visit at least one more school. That's part of Ben's grand plan.

"There's definitely a chance," when Bandel talked about an imminent verbal commitment to the Huskies. Washington is the only school that has offered Bandel so far. "I talked about it with my parents and my coach. There's no definite answer. I want to have at least one other school to compare it too and I haven't been to any schools yet. I want to go to another school before I go to Washington so I have something to compare it with."

There's no question the Dawgs are interested in Bandel, as he's been contacted as often as possible by the Husky coaching staff. "I've talked to Rick Neuheisel, Bobby Hauck, and recently the tight ends coach (Keith Gilbertson) has been trying to get in touch with me," said Ben. "I haven't heard from them in a week because I've been out, but they haven't been pressuring me at all."

Another thing going for Bandel is his ability to play baseball. At 6-7, he makes quite an intimidating first baseman. "I'm thinking about baseball in college, but I don't know if I can juggle it with football and academics," he said.

"But I definitely think I can play baseball at the collegiate level." Top Stories