It?s not often a player from Indiana is in such high demand.
But it?s also not often a player like James Banks comes around.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior quarterback for powerhouse Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis has practically the entire college football world recruiting him. Where he?ll end up is anyone?s guess.
Because of his tremendous athleticism (he also plays hoops and runs track) and great speed (4.5 40-yard dash), Banks has scholarship offers from more than 30 schools, but he?s found a way to narrow it down to just Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and Clemson. Expect the well-spoken young man to take as many visits as possible before deciding on his school of choice.
"I will take all five official visits and then take trips to Purdue and Notre Dame, too," Banks told Gold & Black Illustrated. "I won?t waste an official visit on either of those schools because I can get to them whenever I want."
Banks seems to have an affinity for Clemson and Purdue, more so than the others. The obvious reason lies in the offensive sets run by the Tigers and Boilermakers. Banks has been to West Lafayette several times and is very familiar with Coach Joe Tiller?s program. He said a trip this fall with his parents will answer all his questions.
"I don?t think Purdue really has any flaws," Banks said. "To be honest, Purdue is a great school. They spread out the offense and run QB draws, which would really suit my skills. Their offense is perfect for me."
Still, you wonder if Banks will end up a Boilermaker. Proximity to his Indy home isn?t a factor, so don?t assume the 60-mile trek assures Purdue of anything. In fact, Banks might not make a decision until the final month of recruiting. The preseason All-American will have plenty of pressure on his shoulders, but it?s something he?s used to.
As a sophomore, Banks led the Giants to a state championship. This is when people across the state took notice of his considerable skills. Last year, he passed for nearly 2,000 yards but was unable to lead his team to such success as he had a year prior. With just one season remaining, Banks has his mind set firmly on going out on top.
"It was nice to get a ring for those seniors in ?99, but I want me and my friends to get one now that we?re seniors," said Banks, who expects to play corner and return kicks this fall. "I want to have a great year and do whatever I can to help us win it all."
While most phenom quarterbacks spend their summer throwing the pigskin through a hanging tire, Banks has spent his on the basketball court. But just a few games remain for Banks before he "hits it hard and prepares for the season."
"I?m anxious to get going because I know there?s a lot of pressure on me to perform," Banks said. "I?m still the same James that I?ve always been, though."
Which is awfully impressive, considering the demand for Banks.