Monday, August 11, 2008

Interest in the Irish | by Pat

Pennsylvania defensive back E.J. Banks made the start of fall practice even better by calling up Coach Weis on Friday and becoming the 14th member of the recruiting class of 2009.

"It means a lot to me to be going to Notre Dame," Banks said. "I know that, when I graduate from there, a lot of doors will be opened for me that wouldn't have been opened if I had chosen to go somewhere else. For football, it is a great place, but it is a lot more than that, and all of that weighed into my decision."
Banks has an extremely impressive offer list that includes finalist Ohio State as well as LSU, Georgia, Florida State, Nebraska, Tennessee, Miami, Clemson, Pitt, Virginia Tech, and many others. It's usually a good sign when teams from the SEC look north for skill position players and that is the case with Banks. On the other hand, Banks is also one of those recruits where his offer list doesn't exactly match up with his ranking on the recruiting sites. After starting the year in the Top 100 on Rivals, Banks dropped into the Top 250 and then out of that list as well. He's currently a 3-star recruit on Rivals and listed as the #42nd overall recruit in the "athlete" category. has him as a 3-star as well and the 26th best safety. ESPN is slightly more impressed with Banks and lists him as #131 overall recruit in the nation and #16 "athlete".

The lower rankings on Rivals and Scout are somewhat understandable as neither site seems sure where he will wind up in college. Safety? Cornerback? Wide Receiver? ND has told him that he is being brought in as a corner and will get a chance to see the field at that position first. Banks certainly fits ND's recent trend towards taller and bigger cornerbacks. His highlight clips are heavy on his work as his high school team's starting quarterback, but also include plays out of the free safety position.

Banks is also likely to enroll early at ND along with Tyler Stockton. Combined with Marlon Pollard, Banks already gives ND a strong defensive back recruiting class with the Irish looking to add a safety to complete the DB recruiting.

As mentioned earlier, ESPN has finally released their Top 150 list and player rankings. For posterity, here is where they rank the currently committed Irish players and the rating each player gets out of 100.

Cierre Wood - #3 Athlete, #23 Overall, 84 rating
Tyler Stockton - #2 DT, #32 Overall, 83 rating
Chris Watt - #5 OG, #5 #68 Overall, 82 rating
Zach Martin - #11 OG, 105 Overall, 81 rating
E.J. Banks - #16 Athlete, 131 Overall, 81 rating
Tyler Eifert - #13 TE, 79 rating
Theo Riddick - #48 Athlete, 78 rating
Carlo Calabrese - #12 ILB, 78 rating
Marlon Pollard - #21 CB, 78 rating
Jake Golic - #34 TE, 77 rating
Alex Bullard - #35 OG, 77 rating
Dan Fox - #61 OLB, 76 rating
Nick Tausch - #20 K, 74 rating
Ben Turk - unranked as of now