Coach Spotlight: Brandon Banks

James Franklin's connection to the Old Line State is already paying early dividends at Vanderbilt. He secured a commitment in August from Brandon Banks, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound cornerback out of Gwynn Park High School in Bradywine, MD. This is the third Banks brother coached by Danny Hayes and quite possibly the best.

"Brandon plays smart on the field with a high football I.Q.," said Hayes. "He's an excellent man-to-man guy. He's a real lockdown corner who we put on the other team's best receiver. He'll blanket the wideout from start to finish and basically take him out of the game as a non-factor."

Banks older brother, Maurice, was also a defensive back. He went on to play college football at Georgetown University. Andrew, who is currently at senior quarterback at Middle Tennessee, was part of Coach Hayes' state championship team in 2005. Brandon came in and became a starter in 2009 as a sophomore and hasn't looked back since.

"Brandon's fast with 40 speed in the 4.3-4.4 range," Hayes said. "His speed is deceptive, and he can close on the ball very quickly. This year he's done a good job utilizing his speed, playing heads up football, and studying the opposing receivers. We use him at cornerback, slot receiver and wideout. On special teams we put him on the end on punt returns and return man on kickoffs where he's done a great job."

Banks had offers from all across the country from Cincinnati, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Michigan State, Temple, and Vanderbilt. He decided in favor of the Commodores over many schools in closer proximity to his home in the D.C. area.

"It was really because he wanted to play for Coach Franklin," said Hayes of Banks' Vanderbilt commitment. "As a sophomore Franklin was the first to offer Brandon, and I think that meant a lot to him. They built a strong relationship while he (Franklin) was at Maryland. I think he wanted to remain loyal to him and join him at Vanderbilt."

Banks (No. 3) made eight interceptions as a junior. He also had 33 receptions for 438 yards. This year he made a huge stop on Potomac's final drive to help preserve a 14-12 victory. In the Friendly game, he caught a 37-yard touchdown pass. In a close game with Crossland, he came up with a 20-yard pass for a touchdown. Currently, the Yellow Jackets stand at 4-2 on the year.

"Brandon's a great young man," said Hayes. "He's soft-spoken, mild-mannered, and very respectful. He's also a tremendous student. You're not going to have any trouble from Brandon."

The Yellow Jackets are currently atop their conference in Prince George's County 3A/2A/1A at 4-1. They tangle with Fairmont Heights this weekend in a conference matchup. It's a competitive league. The Yellow Jackets finished 8-2 last season, but missed out on the playoffs by percentage points.

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