It's a list that definitely worth checking twice.
With Christmas a little over a month away, it appears that Santa is going to be very good to Mississippi State defensive back and former East Webster player Johnthan Banks.
Banks was chosen as one of three finalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award on Monday. The award annual goes to the top defensive back in college football.
There has only been one other Bulldog that has been in the running for the Thorpe Award and that was Fred Smoot in 2000.
Even though the Thorpe Award may be the one that carries the most weight, Banks has quite a bit more recognition waiting in the wings.
Banks is the first MSU player to be a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award and the first Bulldog to be a Senior CLASS Award finalist. He is on the Paul Hornung Award Watch List and Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
The Bulldog senior was a midseason first-team All-American and first-team All-Southeastern Conference by ESPN.com, CBS Sports, Sporting News and Phil Steele. He was also a midseason second-team All-American by Sports Illustrated and Scout.com.
Among the weekly honors for Banks were the week 10 SEC Community Service Team Player of the Week, week seven and week eight Hornung Award Honor Roll, week two Jim Thorpe National Defensive Back of the Week, CBS Sports.com SEC Defensive Player of the Week, CollegeSportsMadness.com National Defensive Player of the Week, CollegeFootballPerformance.com All-Purpose Performer of the Week, and made the Hornung Award Honor Roll.
Banks, who is also a Conerly Trophy finalist, is tied for third in the SEC and 13th nationally with four interceptions.
It's truly amazing to see how far Banks has come in his career.
While watching him develop as a high school player at East Webster, it was obvious that Banks possessed the athletic skill to become pretty good at the next level. He was a pretty good quarterback for the Wolverines and probably could have been a pretty good signal caller if given the opportunity.
Banks found a home in the defensive backfield at Mississippi State and judging by all of the recognition he's been getting, he seems to be right where he needs to be.
The Bulldogs have two more games with Banks on the team, then a career in the National Football League certainly awaits.
Banks has definitely been a player that MSU and Webster County can brag about.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.
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