Banks Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist (VOTE NOW)
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A first-class representative of Mississippi State University, All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior Class Award, Premier Sports Management announced Thursday. Banks is the first football player and the fifth student-athlete in school history to be named a finalist for the award, which celebrates loyalty and achievement for staying in school (CLASS) through community, classroom, character and competition.
This past January, the senior turned down millions of dollars by being drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft to return to Starkville and finish his education. In the classroom, Banks will graduate this year with a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary science.
In the community, the team captain is heavily involved in volunteer work. Each winter, he leads his teammates to the Starkville Wal-Mart for a Salvation Army fundraising drive. Along with his teammates, Banks rings the Salvation Army Bell, purchases Christmas gifts for underprivileged youths and signs autographs for Bulldog fans. Each summer, he has volunteered as a lead camp counselor for a football camp in Mathiston, Miss.
Every semester, the Maben, Miss., native participates in MSU's "Champions Breakfast" at Sudduth Elementary School in Starkville, where he spends time encouraging the elementary students to eat breakfast and work hard in the classroom. At West Oktibbeha Elementary, Banks volunteers his time training children for the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT), which consists of him spending one-on-one time with students helping them prepare for the statewide language arts and mathematics assessment test.
On the field, Banks has been named a midseason All-American by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, Sporting News, Phil Steele and Scout.com. For the season, he has been thrown at 29 times in man coverage, allowing just 17 catches for 136 yards (4.7 YPA) and zero touchdowns, intercepting three passes, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and breaking up two passes.
Among active players in the FBS, the corner ranks first in career interception yards (274), second with 15 career interceptions, is tied for third with three interceptions returned for touchdowns and ranks sixth in career interceptions per game (0.34). As a result of offenses avoiding him, Mississippi State is first in the country in turnover margin, while his teammate opposite of him (Darius Slay) is tied for third in the FBS with four interceptions.
The Senior CLASS Award focuses on
the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in
athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The finalists
were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in
September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner.
Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through
December 3. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches'
votes to determine the winner.
Mississippi State Senior CLASS Award History
2012 - Johnthan Banks (Football) - Finalist
2010 - Chelsea Bramlett (Softball) - Finalist
2005 - Lawrence Roberts (Men's Basketball) - Finalist
2005 - Tan White (Women's Basketball) - Finalist
2003 - LaToya Thomas (Women's Basketball) - WINNER
Previous Senior Class Award Winners
2008 - James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
2009 - Tim Tebow, Florida
2010 - Ricky Dobbs, Navy
2011 - Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
2012 Senior Class Award Finalists
Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Matt Barkley, USC
Duron Harmon, Rutgers
Barrett Jones, Alabama
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Collin Klein, Kansas State
Sean Renfree, Duke
Adam Replogle, Indiana
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame