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Peyton Bender born to play quarterback

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Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender in action in an NCAA college football game against Washington Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. Bender, who played his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, signed Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, with Kansas football.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender in action in an NCAA college football game against Washington Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. Bender, who played his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, signed Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, with Kansas football. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The first thing about new Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender that grabs the attention is the spelling of his first name. The inspiration behind it did not come as a surprise.

“My dad grew up watching the SEC and when Peyton Manning was at Tennessee he really liked him as a kid and he thought the name was unique, so he did, he named me after Peyton Manning,” Bender said. “I don’t think he knew I’d turn out to be a quarterback.”

Neither did Peyton himself. He said that pitching was what he did best as a youth, but he decided to concentrate on football after recurring elbow problems interrupted his development as a pitcher. He also played third base, where his famously quick release must have come in handy.

Bender left Washington State, where Mike Leach was his coach, for Itawamba Community College for a year.

“(Leach) told me he would have a spot for me if I did want to go back,” Bender said. “We left on good terms. I thought about it, but the decision my family and I made was that it would be best to go somewhere to get a fresh start.”

Bender spent most of his youth in Georgia, but the family moved to Florida, where he spent his high school years. He said he chose Kansas over an offer from Akron and then resisted a late charge from Georgia.

“They came in about a week-and-a-half before the December signing,” Bender said of the Bulldogs. “I just didn’t get the same feel from them that I got here and I didn’t think the opportunity would be the same as the one I would get here.”

Comments

Brett McCabe 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Can't wait till the spring game to get a look at him and Charlot.

Dale Rogers 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Really have a good feeling about him. He didn't flame out at his previous school, like Crist and Heaps. This isn't a second chance at performing. He left WSU to attend to getting his academics in order. And he played well at the CC. Now he's ready to show us what he can do and I am looking forward to that. With him and Stanley leading the way...

Jack Joiner 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Crist and Heaps will always be in the back of our minds when it comes to Bender. Maybe Peyton will help us forget those two and CW.

John Brazelton 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Regardless, both Stanley and Peyton are Air Raid-style QBs. After Spring football, hopefully one will be the #1 QB and the other #2. You can't make it through a Big-12 season without three quality QBs unless our offensive line improves substantially. We should be able to get off to a fast start for a change during the three pre-conference games. With a little luck we will need to win only three games during the conference to be bowl eligible.

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