Banks racks up preseason awards

By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times

Former East Webster High School standout football player and Mississippi State defensive back Johnthan Banks has racked up a prolific amount of 2012 preseason honors.

Banks was added to the Bednarik Award Watch List, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List and the Paul Hornung Award Watch List.

He has also been named a preseason All-American by two publications and a first-team All-SEC defensive back by eight media outlets including USA Today, CBSsports and Phil Steele, and was announced as Lindys Magazine “Best Cover Corner in SEC.”

All awards are presented to the nation’s top defensive players. Banks has also received preseason All-SEC honors by four different groups for his special teams work.

Banks holds 12 career interceptions, and will start the 2012 football looking to catch up with former Bulldog Walt Harris’ benchmark of 16 interceptions. Banks was named 2011 All-SEC second team by AP, the All-SEC third team by Phil Steele, a finalist for the Conerly Trophy and a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

At this summer’s media day for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen stated, “John Banks, I give the young man a lot of credit. Last winter (he) had a tough decision to make, whether to go on to the NFL or come back for his senior year. I couldn’t be happier with him.

“The reasons that he made his decision to get his degree to leave his mark on the program have been huge. He’s attacked that. I think he has come back with the sense that he wants to be the team leader. Not worried about how maybe coming back one year can up your draft status.

“He’s come back with the desire that he wants to leave an impact on Mississippi State football as a team as he walks out the door. He’s done a fabulous job of becoming our team leader both vocally and by example in everything that he does.” Banks was the only cornerback in the SEC in the 2011 season to have at least 70 tackles and five interceptions. He had eight tackles for loss and three sacks.

The 2009 East Webster High graduate is the grandson of Maggie Banks of Maben.