Spring Breakout Players: No. 9

As we prepare for the start of Spring Football next week, we take a look at some of the breakout players who have a chance to emerge this spring with a good month or so of work. Today we look at No. 9 on our list, DL Josh Banks, a JUCO player who showed glimpses in his first season on Montlake but has the chance to make a much bigger impact in 2013.

Background: Banks helped St. Mary's High to an 12-3 record as a senior in 2008 and the Rams to the CIF San Joaquin Section Division I championship, beating Pleasant Grove 36-14 in the title game. St. Mary's went on to play in the CIF State Bowl Division II Championship game. In junior college Banks earned first-team all-state and all-conference selection as both a freshman and as a sophomore. In his second year at San Joaquin Delta College Banks was named first-team All-California and was also named Defensive MVP of the Valley Conference. He totaled 32 tackles, including a team-high 15.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries, in 2011, where he was ranked the No. 37 JC recruit in the nation by SuperPrep.

Why Banks?: Banks earned his first start for the Huskies against USC in his very first season. Overall he played nine games for UW, but was a tad undersized at 265 pounds. Schools like Washington don't recruit junior college players unless they are ready to play from the jump, so it wasn't completely out of the blue that Banks got to see the field in 2012. And it won't be a surprise to see him with even more playing time now that he has settled in with a season under his belt. Banks has had time to acclimate to the college game and the coaches have had a season to really hone in on his strengths and weaknesses to utilize his full potential. Depending on their plan, they can have him play solely inside as a 3-technique or even straight up against the center in smaller packages - or as a bigger defensive end in jumbo sets. Banks has the versatility and game to play inside or outside.

The Competition: With Semisi Tokolahi graduated and Pio Vatuvei and Lawrence Lagafuaina out with a knee injury, the spot next to Danny Shelton inside is wide open. Senior-to-be Sione Potoae seems to be the most likely candidate to compete for playing time, but Potoae has been an enigma since showing up four years ago. In fact, even though he played in more games in 2012 than Banks he never started. Next in line are sophomores Taniela Tupou and Jarett Finau, and Damion Turpin shows promise as redshirt freshman, but mostly mop-up time means none of them have seen enough action to really know what their futures hold. That means Banks is in line for a lot of work this spring as a steppingstone for maybe even more work in the fall.

Josh Banks Scout.com Profile

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