Recruiting '07: It's the Pullman Plan for Key

ONE OF THE hardest hitting safety prospects to ever come out of the state of Washington, former Parade All-American Keauntea Bankhead recently wrapped up a stellar first year at Dixie State in St. George, Utah. He started every game, earning first-team all-league honors. However, a change of venue -- along with an extra year at the D-I level -- looks to be in the cards as the 6-0, 220-pounder has come up with a plan. You might call it, the Pullman Plan.

Bankhead's arrival on a D-I gridiron is a year down the road and things can change, but his ultimate college destination looks more and more like it will be Washington State.

"I'm not saying it's engraved in stone but Washington State is at the top of my list right now," said Bankhead, a blue-chipper out of Ballard High who originally signed with Washington. "If I were going to go to a college right now, that's where I would go."

With Dixie State going NCAA Division II next fall, "Key" said he'll complete his AA degree back in the Seattle area and won't play football this coming year.

The move would allow him to use the 2006 campaign as his redshirt season and give him 3 years to play 3 at the next level. Bankhead, who enrolled at Dixie State in January 2005, sat down with Cougar coach Bill Doba last month and the two talked about the future --- one that could have him receiving his AA by December and enrolling at WSU in January.

"We came up with a little plan," said Bankhead. "I'm going to redshirt next year and then go to Wazzu next spring (2007) and have three years to play."

Bankhead said he hadn't decided which community college he'd attend in the Seattle area, with Seattle Central or North Seattle among the possibilities. He also plans on getting a personal trainer to stay in fighting football trim.

BANKHEAD TORE IT up his freshman effort at Dixie, second on the team in tackles and tackles for loss. On the season, Bankhead racked up 66 tackles (43 solo) from his safety spot, 9.5 of which were tackles for loss.

He logged one quarterback sack, five pass interceptions, five pass breakups and three fumble recoveries, and also added another 427 return yards on kickoff and punt returns.

AT SEATTLE'S BALLARD HIGH his senior season, Bankhead was the consensus player of the year in Washington state and a Parade All-American. A sure tackler, disruptive presence and a constant threat to blitz, he was rated the No. 10 safety in the nation coming out of high school by

That senior campaign, Bankhead racked up 78.5 tackles, (66 solo) while recording 10 tackles for loss with five sacks. Offensively, he lit up scoreboards to the tune of 2,459 all-purpose yards and 27 TDs.

IN FEBRUARY OF 2004, Bankhead signed his Letter of Intent to Washington but fell about 50 points shy on his SAT. He then had a falling out over his academic plans with UW coach Ty Willingham, according to a report in The Seattle PI, when Bankhead decided to attend junior college rather than continue to take the SAT, the latter being Willingham's preference.

"He doesn't know me personally. I got the impression he was calling me a quitter," Bankhead was quoted as saying in the PI.

Huskies assistant coach Chris Tormey, considered a golden-tongued recruiter, spent this past spring to try and get the UW back in Bankhead's good graces.

"He (Tormey) knew I got off to a bad start with the new coach at the UW -- and he apologized for that," said Bankhead at the time. "He's been calling and sending mail since then."

Bankhead said since the spring he's continued to receive mail from the UW, and UCLA talked to his coach at Dixie, but the only school he's remained in close contact with is Washington State.

Keauntea Bankhead profile

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