Crusader on a comeback: TC’s Bentlee Sanders

Getting injured in football is as commonplace as putting peanut butter with jelly on a sandwich. It’s not a matter of “if” you get hurt playing the most physical sport on the planet–it’s simply a matter of “when” you’ll have to face that adversity. But to paraphrase and distort all of the cliches into one simple saying–“it ain’t about the pain, it’s about how you get past the pain.”

Class of 2017 ATH Bentlee Sanders from Tampa Catholic
Class of 2017 ATH Bentlee Sanders from Tampa Catholic

Tampa Catholic ATH Bentlee Sanders falls into the category of “get over it and move on” when it comes to dealing with the adversity of a season-ending injury. After completing a very successful freshman season for the Crusaders, he suffered a knee injury in TC’s preseason classic with Sickles before the start of the 2014 campaign that sidelined him. It was an especially tough injury considering the Crusaders had lost Nate Craig-Myers in the same time frame.

Injury to be damned–the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Sanders came back this season and set the record straight that whatever it was that happened is now long gone. He showcased his defensive, offensive and special teams skills this year for the Crusaders and was a major contributor to the team’ success proving that the mind will convince the body it can do anything once that “selective amnesia” kicks in.

Going back to his freshman season in 2013, Sanders racked 371 All-Purpose yards while adding 31 tackles–24 solo–while grabbing an interception, posting 12 pass deflections and a fumble recovery. Sanders was even instrumental in the return game adding 353 yards in that category.

Following the injury, Sanders got back to work as soon as possible to rehab the injury and was back in the mix before the 2015 season–his junior season–even got into full-swing. Sanders started this season as the #22 player overall on BCP’s Fire 79 and was listed as the #4 rated cornerback in the position rankings–and he didn’t disappoint.

Sanders posted 119 yards of offense this season for the 10-3 squad and a touchdown on that side, but boosted his contributions on the defensive and special teams side in a major way. Sanders finished the season with 692 yards All-Purpose–with 101 yards in interceptions returns alone. He added 56 tackles from the island–36 of those solo–while snatching three interceptions, breaking up four passes, causing a fumble and blocking a field goal attempt.

Sanders has carried that momentum into the offseason posting the third fastest time at Ignite in the 5-10-5 drill with a 4.18 seconds time. Get ready to here more from this young man as the offseason progresses and he transitions into his senior season.