Johnthan Banks put family before NFL riches

Jim Thorpe Award winner from Mississippi State came back for his senior season, saw his draft stock rise and was honored as the nation's top defensive back.
by Jason Kersey Published: February 5, 2013

“He started having this funny look on his face and started acting weird,” Mallory Banks said. “He wouldn't really talk to me. He wouldn't open up to me.”

Finally, though, Johnthan Banks broke down one night and tearfully confessed he'd changed his mind.

Several of his goals remained unaccomplished. Banks wanted to earn his degree, which he'll now complete this spring.

A Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist as a junior, Banks wanted to win the 2012 award.

He wanted to improve his NFL Draft stock, which has risen so high that he's now widely considered first-round material.

“We talk to guys about that stuff,” said Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen. “We have a little rule that says, ‘If you're gonna be first rounder, you should go.'

“If not, the thought is, ‘Hey, come back. Get the security of getting your degree, and increase your chances in the draft.'”

Now, with all those accomplishments completed or nearly completed, the former Mississippi State standout has drastically improved his family's long-term outlook.

“At first, I was kind of upset that he didn't go, because I felt like he was an excellent player,” Mallory Banks admitted. “But now, I'm very, very happy that he stayed. He grew, he learned more, and got better as a football player and a person.”


by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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