Corner Support

A few days of down news on the West Virginia football scene were reversed on Thursday when Ishmael "Icky" Banks committed to West Virginia.

Ishmael Banks, who got his nickname from a coach in his youth flag football days, has had interest in West Virginia for several years.

"I came to West Virginia's camp in high school when I was a sophomore, and I got really interested in them," said Banks shortly after making his intentions known to the Mountaineer coaching staff. "I really liked what I saw up there, and me and my teammates were high on them ever since."

Two of those teammates, Marquis Wallace and Trey Johnson of Varina (Va.) High School, committed to WVU before their senior seasons, and Banks is now happy to join them. Following his senior high school year in 2008, he didn't have the offers at the level he was hoping, and also needed to improve his grades, so he opted for a season at Hargrave Military Academy, where he accomplished both goals. Film of his prep year at Hargrave recently made its way to West Virginia, and following a look-see at Hargrave's combine a couple of weeks ago, a scholarship offer was made. When that offer was formalized, Banks wasted no time in becoming a Mountaineer.

"Once the season went on and they saw my films, I think their interest in me picked up," said Banks of the recruiting process. "They made the formal offer to me, and I formally committed."

Banks had other offers from Kent State, Western Kentucky, Marshall and Georgia State, and interest from Auburn, but didn't wait when WVU made its formal offer.

"I talked to Coach Beatty today, and he made it official, and I told him I wanted to make it official too," said Banks, whose speech and speaking style reflects the time he has spent in the military academy. "I talk with Trey and Marquis every day, and they are very excited for me."

Banks played with fellow WVU commit Deon Long, who is just awaiting his transcript before enrolling at West Virginia. Once they pair found they had a common bond in West Virginia, they forged a friendship.

"We talked some about it," Banks said of their mutual interest in WVU. "When I told him I was interested, we turned it into a little West Virginia thing down here."

With his commitment set, Banks, who stands six feet, one inch and weighs in at 185 pounds, is now waiting on his grades and test scores to see if he will be eligible to enroll in January. He believes he has improved his marks on both, and is awaiting the results to see where he stands. If he is still short, he said he has no problem with finishing out the year at Hargrave and enrolling at WVU in July, 2010.

"I went to Hargrave to improve my grades, and work on getting better offers," he said. "I just wanted to be a better all-around player, and also round myself out as a student. Being here at Hargrave has taught me a lot about time management, and the importance of focusing on my studies as well as on football."

Banks has done well on the field as well. He had two interceptions and approximately 30 tackles this year, and also benefited from matching up with Long in practice.

"I didn't face a whole lot of fast receivers in games, but Deon and I went at it in practice some," he noted. "Working against him helped me get a lot better."

Banks views himself as a well-rounded corner that can play either man or zone coverage, and as someone that's not afraid to stick his nose into the mix in run support. He tackles well, and has the size to be effective against either the run or the pass. In his most recent timing, he laid down a 4.49 40-yard dash.

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