Brad Banks Named AP College Player of the Year

Iowa's Brad Banks continues his unbelievable ride through college football's magic kingdom. He was just named the Associated Press College Player of the Year.

It's not the Heisman Trophy, but it's not exactly a kick in the pants, either.

Brad Banks continued his unbelievable ride through college football's magic kingdom today when he was named the College Player of the Year by the Associated Press.

Not bad for a guy who had never started a collegiate game until this season.

Not bad for a guy who was a backup to Kyle McCann, the Hawkeye quarterback who was booed by his own fans in his own stadium in 2001.

Not bad for a guy who, before the season began, said very few people recognized him as Iowa's quarterback when they saw him walking through the campus.

"I can't imagine a better success story," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz told the AP after learning that Banks had won the award. "Brad wasn't on anyone's radar screen in late August. But he improved every week, and played his best in our biggest games."

Now Banks is preparing to quarterback Iowa (11-1) against Southern California (10-2) in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2 in Miami.

"I'm kind of shocked to hear I've won this," Banks said of the AP award. "I'm very happy the way the season went, and the way everyone on this team made Iowa a household name. I'm glad to play a part in all this."

Banks added that, "With the number of great players in college football, this is truly a humbling experience. I became what I am because of over 100 other players on the Iowa roster and a great coaching staff.

"My teammates made me a better player and, hopefully, I helped make them better players along the way."

Banks is expected to be one of the players invited to New York City later this week for Saturday's Heisman Trophy ceremony. He, as well as well as Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer, could win the prize honoring college football's best player. Don't forget, this is the same Brad Banks who said his press conferences at Hinds (Miss.) Community College, where he played before coming to Iowa, consisted of "one guy, one camera, one microphone and five questions."

The 6-foot 1-inch, 200-pound Banks received 24 votes in balloting by 71 members of the AP college football poll board, which includes representatives of newspapers, TV and radio stations.

He edged Palmer by three votes. Miami running back Willis McGahee was third with 10 votes, Penn State running back Larry Johnson fourth with six votes, Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey fifth with five votes and Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser sixth with three votes.

Banks completed 153 of 258 passes for 2,369 yards and 25 touchdowns during the regular season. He was intercepted only four times. He also ran for 387 yards and five touchdowns.

Palmer passed for 3,639 yards and 32 touchdowns, and Banks said the Orange Bowl matchup "should be a great game. I'm really looking forward to it."

Ferentz, the Big Ten coach of the year and my choice to be the national coach of the year, said the AP award to Banks "is really a tremendous honor for Brad and our entire program. He is most deserving of the honors that are coming his way.

"As I've said many times before about Brad, he's just as good a person as he is a football player. He has made his teammates, family and Iowa fans very proud today."

Banks' only sub-par game during the regular season was Sept. 14 in Iowa's 36-31 loss to Iowa State. In that game, he fumbled twice in the third quarter when the Cyclones,who trailed at halftime, 24-7—went on a 23-0 rampage.

"We just fell apart for a little bit," Banks said. "Plays broke down and I made mistakes. I think we learned from that game." "Their coach told Ron he had a kid (who was) being overlooked," Ferentz told the AP. "Ron brought the tape back, and Brad was evaluated as the top quarterback who wanted to come here. We fell in love with what we saw."

Before that, Banks had spent a season at Central Florida, where he played on the same team with Daunte Culpepper, now of the Minnesota Vikings.

At Least Some People (20,000!) Like Orange Bowl

Well, not everyone is disappointed that Iowa is going to the Orange Bowl instead of the Rose Bowl.

Iowa officials said today that more than 20,000 tickets have been purchased by Hawkeye fans for the game in Miami.


"Like our coaches and student-athletes, fans of the Hawkeyes are very excited about our invitation to Miami," said David Sandstrum, director of ticket operations for Iowa's athletic department.

"We were extremely busy after the official announcement on Sunday and the pace hasn't slowed today."

Ron Maly
Vol. 2, No. 109
Dec. 9, 2002
[Ron Maly's e-mail address is ]

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