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Josh Sanders: pushing himself forward

Photo by Megan Schmitz
Photo by Megan Schmitz

Feature story was written by Andrea Ledvina for CUWFalcons.com

Faith can be defined­ by many things and for Josh Sanders, he has put a lot of faith into his future. A senior on the Concordia Wisconsin football team never toured the school once; in fact his first day on campus was the day he moved in. Sanders took the jump coming to CUW which has now helped him ranked high in the conference and top-50 nationally as an all-purpose player. He is also highly ranked in points responsible per game, receiving touchdowns, receiving yards and receptions per game in conference. Sanders has pushed himself these past seasons to get where he is right now with many people to thank.  

Initially coming to Mequon, Sanders was not able to play much his first two years, but remained determined to stick out the years. He says when he does something, the last thing he ever wants to do is quit, and he needs to see these things through. When he was not able to get time on the field, he gave himself some mental reps to push harder than the last practice to keep improving. He looked up to the juniors and seniors for help and they taught the team how to play smarter and not harder.

Now with the team having a chance at the NCAA Playoffs, Sanders feels this is the time for the team to prove themselves. "There is always pressure, every ball that is thrown in your direction; it's up to us to make the play, making the catch. We have to be the playmakers."

Sanders credits a lot of the receivers' success to Aaron Nixon, CUW's quarterback who also nationally ranked. "Nixon is a genius. He knows my plays better than I do sometimes and I am grateful for that. I would not have my success without him on the field with me and the guys."

Sanders continues to play to the best that he can on the field. Currently, Concordia is 6-1 in the season with three games left to play still and this season's five-consecutive wins is the most since 2013. The teams end goal would be to win the conference and go as far as they can in the playoffs. One thing Sanders says with this years team is that everyone keeps on fighting, even though there will be mistakes made, not to let them affect more than just that play.

Each year when more men join the team, it was very important for Sanders to create a connection with them. He likes having the confidence with one another, very similar to a brotherhood. Sometimes it is the four years on the field together that show how close a team can be. The difference between this year and past for him is that they hold the energy high, staying engaged ready to play more.

The Phoenix, Arizona native also knows how much football has changed him as a person overall. It has made him tougher knowing that he is going to always be trying his hardest on the team no matter what happens. With that brotherhood, he has become a more social man on the team, being there to help the freshman if need be.

This is the first time Sanders is having such a successful season in his collegiate career and he is excited that his name is being mentioned on a national stage statistically. "I've seen all these guys up there and now my name is with them in the top 50. It is weird, but I love seeing it pay off."

Many of Sanders' teammates insist to have him be a walk-on for the NFL, but he is going to wait and see how the season turns out. He loves football and has been playing for over 15 years, so he is excited to see where his journey with the sport continues. Above all Sanders is grateful for the time when the team gets to help students in the Milwaukee area find their passion for football by hosting yearly camps with the team. His first year he helped with the camp, he connected with a boy Aiden who wasn't able to do all of the plays, so Josh pulled him to the side and helped break things down for him. That day with Aiden changed Josh in wanting to help serve the students in the community and love what they do in sports, understanding how each athlete is different.

To the underclassmen he persists that there may not always be tons of chances on the field to prove yourself, but when you get those moments to take them and prove you belong on the field. "Take your shot, and play as hard as you can, take advantage of everything."

With a few games still remaining for the Falcons, he is grateful for the time he has had with the team and all the support he has received.

"Concordia is one heck of a school, I could not be more ecstatic to be a part of our program."