« FBS Football 2012

Johnthan Banks

Mississippi State
Defensive Back
Interdisciplinary Science


Banks will graduate this year with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Science.


From academic counselor Kylie Amato: “It has been my pleasure to work with Johnthan Banks for the last two and half years.  As his Athletic Academic Counselor, I have watched him mature academically and strive for excellence in the classroom. It is important for Johnthan to be a role model not only on the field to his teammates, but also in the classroom and tutoring.  He is professional, respectful and is always well prepared for his academics. Johnthan, although an outstanding young man on the football field, is mature enough to know that football will not last forever.  He is working toward his degree and graduating at the end of his senior year.  He has seen that no matter how talented a player can be, football has an expiration date; education does not. Outsiders looking in see a young, talented college athlete. Those that know him, see all the same things, but also see a devoted father who puts his son first, no matter the cost.  His son is the most important person in his life. Having a son at such a young age has made Johnthan handle situations differently. Being a father has not only taught him patience but understanding, compassion and forgiveness.  He has made changes in his own life knowing that how he handles certain situations has consequences. He has also learned that those consequences not only affect him, but his family as well. Johnthan does not have the maturity of a 20 year old college student; Johnthan has the maturity of a father who places importance where it is due. Johnthan gives back to those who have given him much.  He attends community service events when called upon, he goes to local elementary schools and reads and teaches middle school kids the importance of starting each and every day with a healthy breakfast.  Johnthan is a role model to everyone around him and is not afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.  He knows what it takes to be successful and he makes every effort to make sure he is providing for those around him a solid foundation.”


Banks is heavily involved in volunteer work. Each winter, he leads his teammates to the local Wal-Mart for a Salvation Army fundraising drive. Along with his teammates, Banks rings the Salvation Army Bell, purchases Christmas gifts for underprivileged youths and signs autographs for Bulldog fans. Each summer he has volunteered as a lead camp counselor for a football camp in Mathiston, Mississippi. Each semester, Banks participates in MSU’s “Champions Breakfast” at Sudduth Elementary School in Starkville, where he spends time encouraging the elementary students to eat breakfast, work hard in the class room and work hard in their athletic endeavors to hopefully become a Bulldog one day. After the event he stays for sometimes an hour and signs autographs and takes pictures. At West Oktibbeha Elementary, Banks volunteers his time training children for the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT), which consists of him spending one-on-one time with students helping them prepare for the statewide language arts and mathematics assessment test. Most of his volunteer work derives from his fatherhood instinct: he has a one-year old son named Kaiden (KJ for short) that he describes as a “Gift from God.” Banks says everything he does off the field and on the field is to leave a good legacy for his son.


Banks has been amed a first-team preseason 2012 All-American by Athlon and a second-team All-American by Phil Steele. He earned preseason 2012 All-SEC first-team honors from the SEC Coaches, Athlon, Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, CBSSports.com, Birmingham News, Lindys, Phil Steele and USA Today. He was also named second-team All-SEC for all-purpose by the SEC Coaches and third-team All-SEC special teams by Phil Steele and Lindys. He was named to the 2012 Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Jim Thorpe Award, Hornung Trophy and 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list. He established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the country after a stellar 2011 regular season. Banks is second in school history with 12 career interceptions, only four away from tying Walt Harris’ school record of 16 set from 1992-95. A member of the AP All-SEC second team in 2011, Banks has earned 32 career starts at both corner and safety. He leads all active FBS players along with teammate Corey Broomfield and six others with three interception returns for touchdowns (tied for school record and two shy of the national record). He is also tied for fourth among active FBS players with 12 career interceptions and is seventh among active players in interceptions per game (.3) and career interception return yards (196). He made the switch from safety to corner following an outstanding true freshman campaign. He provided a highlight of the 2009 season with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tim Tebow of Florida. As a junior, he started all 13 games, totaling 71 tackles (46 solo), 8.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, nine pass breakups, five interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. He also returned 16 punts for 166 yards and a score.

In 2012 he has a career total 15 interceptions. He is one behind the lead among active FBS players for career interceptions as well as the 17 year old school record. With his 47-yard return on September 22, he broke the school record for career interception yards and passed Bacarri Rambo of Georgia for most career interception return yards among active FBS players (274).