Sherando’s Banks signs letter of intent with Richmond

Aaron Banks

STEPHENS CITY — Aaron Banks put in a lot of extra time in the last year, and on Wednesday he got his reward.

The Sherando senior signed his letter of intent Wednesday to play football at the University of Richmond.

“It feels really good,” Banks said after signing in Sherando’s library late Wednesday morning. “It kind of signifies that my high school football career is over. I’m on to better things. I’m going to be playing on Saturdays instead of Fridays. So it’s going to be pretty great. It shows that all my hard work paid off.”

Banks said that after having a pretty solid junior season at Sherando, he still didn’t have much interest from colleges. So he decided he needed to work extra hard on becoming a better player.

Banks said he started working with a personal trainer, Lloyd Phillips, in addition to doing all the offseason training that Sherando does.

Sherando coach Bill Hall said he could really see a difference in Banks this season, because of what he did in the offseason.

“He was putting everything he could into it,” Hall said. “And I think he saw the benefits physically and how he was changing and also what he could do with that athleticism.”

Banks had a strong senior season. The wide receiver broke the school record for receptions in a season with 60, while finishing second in yards in a single season (1.060). Banks is also second in career receptions with 88.

Banks also tied the school record for interceptions in a career with 13. He finished tied with former National Football League player Kelley Washington.

Banks finished this season with 8 interceptions. He helped Sherando to the Class 4 state semifinals.

At Richmond, Banks will play at cornerback. Banks said once he went for a visit, he knew that Richmond is where he wanted to play.

“Just the campus, everything is really nice,” Banks said. “They have good food in the cafe. Everything there is pretty good. When I stepped on campus, when I went on my unofficial (visit) it felt like home.”

Banks received an offer for a full ride from Richmond on Nov. 2 and verbally committed on Nov. 22. Banks was recruited by Richmond defensive coordinator Adam Braithwaite, a Handley graduate. He said he also had interest from William & Mary College.

The Spiders went 6-5 last season under first-year head coach Russ Huesman and missed the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, but they did play two of the top teams in the country really close. Richmond lost to No. 1 ranked James Madison University, 20-13. They also lost 48-34 to Sam Houston State. Both JMU and Sam Houston State played in the FCS semifinals last weekend.

Banks is one of 12 players to sign Wednesday with Richmond. For the first time this year there is an early signing period for football, which is from Dec. 20-22. The next signing period for football will be on Feb. 7.

Banks isn’t the only local football player to sign with Richmond. Millbrook’s Isaac Brown also signed Wednesday and is expected to play at wide receiver for the Spiders.

Banks said the Spiders are losing five or six defensive backs, so he’s hoping to earn some playing time next season.

“Obviously, one of my goals is to go in and play my first year,” Banks said. “But if that doesn’t happen it’s no big deal redshirting, I get an extra year. So basically just my goals are to stick with it, fight through all the struggles, because you know it’s going to be hard.”