Former East Webster football player Johnthan Banks is accustomed to being the center of attention on the football field.
In high school, Banks was the best athlete on the field most Friday nights. At Mississippi State, he’s one of the most gifted defensive backs in the nation.
His prowess on the field has landed him on a variety of preseason watch lists and deservingly so.
However, today in Hoover, Ala., Banks steps into a new spotlight at Southeastern Conference Media Days.
“I’ve heard Media Day can be stressful, a lot of weird questions,” said Banks. “I’m actually looking forward to it. It’s something I wanted to do. I’m glad I got the respect of coach (Dan) Mullen and others to pick me. I feel like I’m one of the captains on the team so it’s an honor to be picked to go to media days.”
While making the trip to Birmingham to represent his team is an honor, Banks vows not to let the attention affect his performance.
“I just try to be myself," Banks said. "(I want to) keep doing the things that got me the hype and don’t listen to it. It’s so hard not to pay attention to all the stuff coming at you, but I try to be humble and keep myself around my teammates and just try to stay where I’ve been.”
Banks feels his teammates are following his lead of staying humble and putting in the work.
“This is the hardest-working team I’ve ever been around,” said Banks. “You can tell because guys coming back (for the second summer semester) take it like they just got off a break. I had guys texting me saying they didn’t want to take off. They were ready to go back now and come back for classes. (There are) guys trying to get in the weightroom, (and) trying to go run.”
As for what he expects to see this season from the MSU secondary, one big headache for the coaches.
“The coaches are going to have their hands full trying to put everybody on the field," Banks said with a smile. "We have a lot of athletes back there. Depth is something we haven’t had in the past. I can remember when we played Arkansas here, I played 90-something plays that one game, but now that we’ve got (Jamerson) Love and (Taveze) Calhoun and (Darius) Slay, it's going to make our team just so much better. I’m not trying to brag, but I'm going to be shocked if we don’t have the No. 1 secondary in the nation.”
Banks will be joined in Hoover by quarterback Tyler Russell and offensive guard Gabe Jackson. The trio will step into the spotlight along side Mullen at 8:30 a.m. You can follow the news coming out of SEC Media Days by checking in online at www.sdnmsu.wordpress.com .