Key countdown: A Cougar-Dawg tussle?

KEAUNTEA BANKHEAD isn't playing football this season for the first time in forever, opting to finish up his AA degree and have three years of D-IA eligibility. One of the hardest hitting safety prospects to ever come out of the state of Washington, the former Parade All-American talks recruiting, Cougars and Huskies.

Now back home and attending Seattle Central, the 6-0, 220-pound safety is also closer to the UW, the school he originally signed with out of Ballard High in 2004. In addition to Washington State's Robb Akey, Husky recruiting coach Chris Tormey has been in contact, recently inviting the former signee to come out to a Washington practice but Bankhead was unable to attend.

"I might go out there but I've been super busy," said Bankhead. With no football season to occupy his schedule this fall, Bankhead has been spending his spare time working out, helping work on the family home and coaching some little league football.

Bankhead spent his freshman season in Utah at Dixie State where he turned in a great freshman season. But Bankhead said he never became enraptured with St. George, a desert climate town about 20 miles from the Nevada state line, saying he's more of a city guy.

Bankhead's family and friends have also encouraged him to think more about Washington after he said this winter he would be attending Washington State after earning his AA. If all that seems like Bankhead is leaning more towards Seattle and the UW rather than Washington State and Pullman, he said that's not the case.

"I would say I'm leaning more towards Wazzu," said Bankhead. "But U-dub is not far behind. I'm just taking it day by day, trying to get qualified before I even worry too much about transferring. School is going its about just trying to make the right choice for me.

"I have friends out there, Cole Morgan is out there. And I'm good friends with some guys who play for UW. So I've been talking to them, getting their opinion and stuff like that."

Bankhead said he isn't sure if he'll receive his AA at the end of this year or sometime next spring.

"I'm trying to be able to go for spring ball, enroll this January," he said. "But if that doesn't happen, then the next quarter and after that I'll be done."

BANKHEAD WAS second on the team in tackles and tackles for loss at Dixie last season, with 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. He was rated the No. 10 safety in the nation coming out of high school by His senior campaign, Bankhead logged 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. That rift has since been mended, according to Bankhead.

Keauntea Bankhead profile

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