Banks Scores Offer, Will Visit Oregon Soon

Harvey (IL) Thornton Township has produced great athletes who became Ducks in the past, albeit for basketball, not football. Former Oregon forward Joevan Catron is a proud alum of Thornton Township and three-star defensive back, Jalen Banks, could be the next Wildcat to head west and make his name after receiving an offer from Oregon this afternoon.

You received an offer from Oregon today. Which coach was the one to make the offer?

"Coach (John) Neal."

How often would you say that you and coach Neal have been in contact?

"Basically every week since the end of April I've been talking to him a lot. I reached out to him during December and January and everything and even back towards the end of my sophomore year...We've just been trying to develop a relationship from there. With the May evaluation coming up, I couldn't talk to them and everything, but coach wanted to let me know they were watching me practice and they liked what they saw. I kept calling them and made sure they kept their eye on me, as well as me keeping my eye on them, and now I have the offer."

In your conversations with coach Neal, what does he like about you and how does he see you fitting in at Oregon should you decide to make a commitment there?

"He said I would play great at Oregon. It's a beautiful place out there -- that's what he tells me and everything -- there's great people and people like me out there; very modest, humble and everything like that -- hard workers. He told me that he thinks I could play several different positions for him. Hopefully, if I go there and when I get there, he would put me at the position where I can make plays for the team and everything like that. He just likes my athletic ability and character and everything like that."

Former Oregon basketball player Joevan Catron is an alumni of Thornton Township. Do you have any sort of connection with him?

"Well I don't know him personally, but I knew he went out to Oregon. His little sister is in my class, so I know their family pretty well."

What is your overall interest in Oregon at this point?

"There's no doubt, I know them and Wisconsin are going to be there when everything narrows out. It's only pretty much a matter of time between the few other schools I want to narrow it down to, which I'm not done doing yet, but I know them and Wisconsin and hopefully schools like Vanderbilt, maybe Illinois, Iowa; schools like that and maybe some other schools that come along and jump in there and sneak their way in to my little final five. But right now, they've (Oregon) made a great impression on me. If I go there, it would be a great program academically and athletically."

Is there anything in particular that stands out to you about Oregon when you consider them now as a legitimate option?

"I know they have great academics, great athletic facilities, and they have history and everything; just how people compete there. That's how I got latched on to Michigan State when they first started recruiting me; I was watching them in the Outback Bowl I think it was this year, and just seeing them compete. Seeing that everyday with Oregon with watching a highlight, or going to their little site and seeing practice or spring games and stuff like that, that really grabbed my attention to see people out there competing and trying to be the best and doing it the right way."

How would you describe yourself as a player?

"I'm very instinctive, I'm a patient defensive back and I make the plays. I'm especially a downhill player and I like to tackle."

Is there a player at the collegiate or professional level that you try to pattern your game after?

"The player back when I was younger was Eric Berry, but now it's Tyrann Mathieu. In the professionals, it's Charles Woodson; even him in college, that's my main role model. I really look up to Charles Woodson as a player, whether it's his college career or his professional career."

What are you looking for in a program?

"Just the type of people they have there along with the great facilities and the academics, as well. The strength and conditioning coaches, just the coaches in general, and the competition in academics and athletics. I want to go there to not only compete at a high level (athletically), but to be able to compete at a high level in the classroom, as well, and be able to come out of there with a master's or bachelor's in whatever it is I major in and be able to say that I have something and have a competitive advantage in the work field when I'm come out. Some schools, you come out of there and you have a bachelor's from there but it doesn't mean anything. Schools like Wisconsin and Oregon and Vanderbilt and Northwestern, if you get a bachelor's or a master's from there, you're working with something. That's what I'm looking for in a program."

Have you given any thought as to what you might want to study when you get to college?

"It's probably more than likely going to be architecture, engineering, or civil engineering. Something along those lines."

You mentioned Oregon and Wisconsin could be in your top five, but who are some of the other schools you're seriously considering at this time?

"I'm not sure. The only two I'm kind of sure on right now is Wisconsin and Oregon, but the other ones I'm still kind of evaluating. I'm trying to get out to Vanderbilt on the 16th of this month, but I'm still evaluating other schools and taking my time to make the right choice to where I narrow it down to."

As far as camps and unofficial visits go, do you have anything planned out over the next couple of months?

"Yeah, I think I'm going to make it out to Illinois, I'm going to try to make it out to Vanderbilt I think and I may stop by Wake Forest and then Oregon the 19th through the 21st for their camp...Everything else, I'm going to go with the wind on it and play it by ear."

Jalen Banks profile

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