Football Preview 2017: Banks prepared for senior season with Warriors
STEPHENS CITY — Aaron Banks had a busy summer.
The Sherando senior went to four different camps. He attended a camp at James Madison University, University of Richmond, William & Mary College and Old Dominion University. He said the camps were a lot of fun.
“It was definitely fun to get out there with everyone,” Banks said. “It was definitely a different environment once you step out there. Some coaches already have their recruits and stuff, and then you go out there. You may not be getting recruited, but you gotta compete to try to get into their focus.”
Banks said he has talked to coaches from Richmond, and also the University of New Hampshire, even though he didn’t attend New Hampshire’s camp.
With all the work that he put in during the summer, Sherando coach Bill Hall said he is expecting a solid year from Banks this season.
“He’s been really investing into realizing his potential, and it will pay big dividends this year,” Hall said.
Banks played at quarterback his freshman year at Sherando, but then switched to wide receiver as a sophomore. He said he realized quarterback wasn’t for him, and he enjoys playing at wide receiver.
“Every play I’m looking to go hard and find the strengths and weaknesses of the defense,” Banks said of playing wide receiver. “Every time I line up I notice if the guy is slacking off at all on defense, and I know I can get a good route on them. Every play just seeing what the defense is going to do and adapting to it, and trying to find ways to make something happen.”
It helps Banks that he also plays in the defensive backfield and he understands what needs to happen on each side of the ball.
Banks has played at cornerback the last two years for Sherando, but will switch to safety this season.
Banks said he’s enjoyed learning a new position. Hall said that he believes that Banks will be a cornerback in college, but for this season Sherando needs him to play safety.
“It’s what’s best for the team, and he’ll be really good,” Hall said. “The guy can fly, and he’s really athletic. He’s a great ball and space guy, so it will be great for us. And if we need to put him down at corner we still can always go back to doing that. It was more of a team need, but he’ll help us.”
Last year Banks played a big role in Sherando’s success on both sides of the ball. He had 22 catches for 354 yards and one touchdown at wide receiver.
On defense, Banks led the area with four interceptions and 47 tackles, including 24 solo.
Banks said he loves to play defense.
“You always feel like you can really change the game on defense, I feel like,” Banks said. “If you come out and play physical and go 100 percent I feel like you can change the game a lot. Defense wins games — I believe that.”
Banks said he loves the team aspect of football, and working together with the rest of his teammates.
“It’s like a brotherhood — just knowing that I basically have a second family here. I just love it,” Banks said. “Coming in seeing the same dudes every day and just the bonds are getting stronger. You’re working out as a a family. When you step on the field you know the person beside you has your back. So it’s pretty great.”
Hall said he’s seen Banks improve his leadership role with the team this season as well.
“He’s not a very vocal guy by any means,” Hall said. “So he’s done a good job of stepping out of that to be more vocal. He’s done a great job with his leadership.”
The Warriors went 5-5 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in a number of years.
Banks said the team is trying to put it behind them and is excited for the upcoming season.
“Last season is always a little bit of motivation,” Banks said. “At the same time we’re just focused on now. That’s what we’re working on. That’s our mission statement — be 1-0. So we’re just focused on the now and things we can do in practice to be better for our season. We’re not really looking back at that season. We’re just ready to be good this season.”