Banks Headlines Mid-Year Honorees

MANHATTAN, Kan. - It's mid-season honors time, and no one is more deserving of mention than Wildcat return man Brandon Banks. The 5-foot-7, 150-pound receiver/return man is one of the Big 12's premier all-purpose players.

Six members of the K-State football team, led by first team selection Brandon Banks, were named to Phil Steele's 2009 Midseason All-Big 12 team, the publication has announced.

Banks was named to the first team as a kick returner, while running back Daniel Thomas, tackle Nick Stringer and defensive lineman Jeffrey Fitzgerald earned second team honors.

Tight end Jeron Mastrud garnered third team honors, while Tysyn Hartman earned third team honors as both a safety and punt returner.

Banks is certainly doing a number of things that has helped to elevate K-State into first place in the Big 12 North standings heading into Saturday's 11:30 a.m. start against Colorado at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

He leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns (31.2 yard average) and touchdowns (3), second in all-purpose yards (173.7 per game), sixth in punt return yards (111, 11.1 average) and 11th in receptions (30).

To his work load, Banks says, "You can never do too much. I'm just trying to get better at each position and contribute to wins."

Banks has done just that … contribute to wins:

• Seven catches for 67 yards against UMass

• Kickoff returns of 92 and 91 yards and 3 catches for 90 yards against Tennessee Tech

• Game-winning TD reception of 54 yards against Iowa State

• Kickoff return of 97 yards, plus 6 catches for 60 yards against Texas A&M Of his special team heroics, Banks says, "I love special teams. I'm a better special team guy than on the offensive side of the ball. I just love getting my hands on the ball." With the ball, Banks has littered his name across the K-State record book.

• Two kickoff returns for TDs in one game, three returns for scores in one season, and four KOR for TDs for a career.

• Kickoff returns of 98, 97, 92 and 91 yards rank 4th, 6th, 10th and 11th longest in KSU history.

• 303 all-purpose yards against Tennessee Tech ranks fifth most in school history. This season, however, hasn't been letter perfect. After catching 67 passes for 1,049 yards, 9 TDs and a 15.7-yard average in 2008, he is currently at the 30-catch mark through seven games with just one score and an average of 11.8 yards per reception.

His 50.6 receiving yards per game is well below the 100-yard average he had hoped.

Plus, his punt return duties were taken away after some early-season drops in games and practices.

"Coach proved a point to me," Banks said. "You have to perform to be out on the field. Judging punts if far more difficult (than kickoffs). You have to focus much more." Catching extra punts before and after each practice, Banks earned that starting position back two weeks ago.

To any past Wildcat return great – Mack Herron, David Allen, Terence Newman -- Banks wants no comparisons made.

"I'm like myself. I'm like Brandon Banks. I don't want to be compared to anybody else," he said. "I just want to score touchdowns and help my team win."

That's exactly what Banks has been doing by doing what he does best. He makes people miss, and runs … runs very, very, very fast with zigs and zags.

He's been clocked in a 4.25 40-yard-dash once, and has whizzed through the 100 meters in 10.22 as a high schooler back in North Carolina. That's where he was the 4A state champion in the 200 and long jump, and later named to the USA Today's All-USA track and field team.

Before that, Banks also won the 100 meters in his age group at the National AAU Championships in 2005, and represented the United States at the Junior World Championships in Beijing, China.

"I thought about running for North Carolina, but I really loved football," Banks said. "It's always been more comfortable, and track was always second."

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