Commitment Roundup

E.J. Banks can't get enough of Notre Dame Stadium.

It won't be long until the McKees Rocks, Pa., product calls the place home, but for time being, the senior standout out of Montour High has to settle for just visiting.

This past Saturday, the 6-foot, 180-pound Banks and three of his high school teammates made the trip to South Bend for Notre Dame's 36-33 quadruple-overtime loss to Pittsburgh. The future Irish cornerback also attended Notre Dame's win over Michigan earlier this fall, and the spring game back in April.

"It's just crazy," Banks stated. "Whenever all those people are in there, it just brings me to life, all the people screaming gets my blood flowing. It's a great place.

"Just being in the stadium. I just love being in the stadium. It's just great being in there and hearing all the fans and how passionate they are. Usually in overtime games, you'd see people leaving, trying to beat the crowd out, but everyone stayed and that's something I like."

"There were people coming and taking pictures and stuff like that. They were saying when are you going to come up and get some pushups?

Banks laughed that he didn't know if he could trust the Irish student section to hold him up, but he now knows he can trust his younger teammates.

On Friday night, Banks helped lead Montour (6-4) to a 40-14 victory over Yough High in the opening round of the WPIAL AAA state playoffs. Last season, Banks and his teammates advanced to the championship game at Heinz Field. This season hasn't been so smooth.

After starting the year 3-1, Montour lost three of four games. Two-straight wins including the destruction of Yough was exactly what Banks and company were looking for.

"That's what we needed, a big boost and a big game and a big victory," Banks explained.

"The first game we lost was a real emotional game for us because that was the first game we lost at home since last year. For us seniors, we wanted to keep it going, and that was heart breaking for us. After that, we won a game and then lost three in a row, and you could see it in peoples faces. Everyday, us seniors had to get on players about how important every game was. Now that we've won two in a row handily, we're starting to get our confidence back in the younger players."

Banks has played through a groin injury the past two weeks. In the most recent win, he ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns before sitting out the second half. Included was a 73-yard scoring run.

"It started acting up after my long run," Banks said of his groin. "I was just trying to outrun everyone. I really hadn't 100 percent fully sprinted with it until then, but it's nothing serious. It's not a tear or a pull, I just think it's aggravated."

Banks was able to forget about his injury for a day while in South Bend.

Before the game, he caught up with Corwin Brown.

"He was just asking me about how my season was going and the game I played (Friday) night, and other stuff, and am I excited to be here."

During the game, Banks hung out with fellow commit and fellow future early enrollee, Tyler Stockton.

"Before recruiting started, Tyler was always texting me saying I can't go to sleep until you commit," Banks explained. "That's how we got to be friends. Thursday we were texting each other, and he was like are you going to be up at Notre Dame and I was like yeah.

"We were just talking about our seasons and stuff and how things are going. Just having fun."

Even though Banks declined doing pushups, he tried to get Stockton to go up for a few.

"He was like nobody is holding me up," Banks said. "It was kind of funny."

Banks is almost positive that he will be back at Notre Dame for the football banquet in December. The next time he will be inside Notre Dame Stadium for a game, will be in a jersey for the season opener in 2009.

Here is a look at how the rest of Notre Dame's verbal commits played over the weekend.

***Alex Bullard: Brentwood Academy (6-4) lost its regular season finale, 27-23 to Father Ryan.

***Carlo Calabrese: Verona (7-1) rolled to an easy 43-0 victory over Whippany Park.

***Tyler Eifert: The Fort Wayne, Ind., standout caught a touchdown and a two-point conversion in Bishop Dwenger's 42-0 rout of Columbia City. Eifert and his teammates advance to the Sectional Championship game this Friday.

Eifert attended the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game on Saturday.

***Dan Fox: For the second-straight week, Fox and his St. Ignatius (10-1) teammates defeated rival St. Edwards. This time, it was a 37-0 drubbing in the first round of the state playoffs. Next weekend, St. Ignatius gets Glenville, who handed the Wildcats their only loss of the season in the opener of the campaign.

***Jake Golic: The future Irish tight end caught seven passes for 96 yards and two scores, in Northwest Catholic's (6-2) 19-16 victory over Bridgeport Central. Both of Golic's touchdowns came in the first half. The first one was a 35-yard reception, and the second one was from 25 yards out, as the Indians have won five games in a row.

***Zach Martin: Martin and the Bishop Chatard (9-1) offensive line helped pave the way for 357 yards rushing, in a 42-0 victory over Greesburg, in the second round of the Indiana state playoffs. Martin and his teammates are chasing a third-straight class 3-A state title.

***Zeke Motta: To go along with his defensive play, Motta blocked a field goal in a 27-24 victory over Seminole Ridge, at the Citrus Bowl. With the win, Vero Beach High (7-1) clinches a Division 7-6 title and home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the state playoffs.

***Nyshier Oliver: The future Irish receiver ran 15 times for 173 yard and St. Peter's Prep's first three touchdowns, in a 33-6 win over Ferris. Oliver and his team have now won six in a row, and are 6-2 on the season.

***Marlon Pollard: The future Irish cornerback returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a score, and also had a nine-yard touchdown reception in Cajon's (7-1) 48-14 blowout of Pacific.

***Theo Riddick: Riddick ran for 83 yards and a touchdown, and threw a 53-yard touchdown pass in Immaculata's 34-14 victory over Franklin. Riddick and his teammates improved to 7-1, and likely clinched the top seed in the upcoming NJSIAA Non-Public Group III playoffs.

***Tyler Stockton: The Hun School finished the season 4-4, with a 19-16 loss to Hill. Stockton was held out of the game with a knee injury. He made his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend.

***Nicholas Tausch: Tausch nailed four extra points and a field goal in Dallas Jesuit's (3-6) 31-23 victory over McKinney Boyd.

***Ben Turk: Turk punted once for 55 yards in St. Thomas Aquinas' (8-0) 38-0 blowout of McArthur.

***Chris Watt: The five-star offensive guard returned to the Glenbard West lineup from an ankle injury, to help lead the Hilltoppers (10-0) to an opening round 14-0 victory over Wheaton North, in Illinois Class 7A action.

***Cierre Wood: Wood didn't play much of the second half in Santa Clara's (8-0) 42-10 romp of Bishop Diego. He rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns, with the scoring runs coming from 76 and two yards out.


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