SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- 6-foot-5, 306-pound El Cerrito (Calif.) offensive lineman Aaron Banks grew up watching California.
Even though the Golden Bears were just down the road, the potential to play for Cal was just a dream, until just over a week ago. That’s when, after a Saturday visit to Berkeley, the 2017 big man scored a scholarship offer.
“That’s amazing, actually, because I always watched them when I was younger, and I never thought I would be able to play at a school like that, because I always thought Cal was really amazing,” Banks said. “Getting an offer was pretty cool. As I got older, I realized, ‘Maybe I could play there, one day,’ and then I got the offer.”
During his trip to Berkeley, Banks sat down with his head coach from El Cerrito – Kenny Kahn – as well as Bears offensive line coach Brandon Jones and assistant Burl Toler III, and that’s when he pulled in his offer.
“They said they loved my film, that I’m really aggressive, and that’s what they like to see from linemen,” said Banks, who’s got long levers and hands like frying pans. “They said my transcripts were pretty good, I guess. They could have been better. I’ve got to get my GPA up. Always got to get the GPA up. It’s 3.0 right now. I’m hopefully going to get a 3.5, go overboard.”
Banks was particularly taken with Jones, when the two got to talk face-to-face.
“He really kept it 100 with me,” Banks said. “He told me what he sees, how he treats players, what he wants out of players. He was pretty convincing.”
Washington State and Oregon State have also offered, but Berkeley sticks out.
“We went through the facilities, checked out everything, just met some coaches, shaking hands,” Banks said. “It was amazing. I didn’t realize how nice Cal was, with their facilities and everything.”
Banks attended the Bears’ camp last summer, and plans on attending again this June. Unlike most players already with offers, he plans to stay for the full three days of the full-contact camp, along with several of his Gauchos teammates, including wide receiver Darius Powe, linebacker Kenneth Caston and wide receiver/linebacker Aaron Taylor.