STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior defensive back Johnthan Banks and junior left guard Gabe Jackson were named midseason All-Americans by Phil Steele, the publication announced Wednesday. Banks was named to the first-team defense, while Jackson earned second-team honors offensively.
Banks, a preseason All-American by six different publications, has led the Bulldogs to the 11th-best scoring defense in the country, while holding opponents to under 200 yards passing per game. The Maben, Miss., native has been thrown at 24 times in man coverage, allowing just 15 catches for 108 yards (4.5 YPA) and zero touchdowns, as well as intercepting three passes and breaking up two. Among active FBS players, the team captain currently ranks first in career interception yards (274), second with 15 career interceptions, is tied for third with three interceptions returned for touchdowns and ranks fifth in career interceptions per game (0.36). As a result of offenses avoiding him, MSU is tied for second in the country in turnover margin, while the corner opposite of him (Darius Slay) is tied for fourth in the FBS in interceptions per game (1.0).
Jackson, a preseason selection to the Lombardi Trophy and Outland Trophy watch list, has been the anchor on an offensive line that is tied for fifth in the FBS with just three sacks allowed. Individually, the Liberty, Miss., native has tallied 33 takedowns while grading out a champion in all five games this season. Additionally, the preseason All-SEC guard has been a prominent blocker for running back LaDarius Perkins, who is second in the SEC in rushing yards per game and is one of five FBS running backs to rush for a touchdown in all of his games thus far this season. Jackson also helped Perkins run for a SEC season-high 179 yards at Troy on Sept. 15.
Fans can watch Banks and Jackson take the field for the Maroon and White this Saturday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. CT as MSU battles Tennessee at Davis Wade Stadium live on ESPN2. For more information on Banks and Jackson, follow the program on Twitter at @MstateFB and like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateFB.