Photo by Allie Oilar

Coach Feels Lucky To Have Had Banks

February 6, 2017
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Not everybody is thrilled with the fact that Aaron Banks is in South Bend right now.

Coaches from the other major college programs that recruited the 2017 offensive lineman from California aren’t the only ones missing out on his talent.

“The basketball coach is moaning right now that he left midyear to go to Notre Dame and not play out his senior year with basketball,” Banks’ football coach at El Cerrito High School, George Austin told Irish Sports Daily. “He’s got great feet, good agility. He’s quite an athlete.

“He’s a terrific player and he’s got great character as a young man. I’ve known him all four years.”

Banks is a big part of the 2017 recruiting class Notre Dame signed on Wednesday along with fellow linemen Robert Hainsey, Dillan Gibbons and Josh Lugg. But Hainsey and Banks got a headstart, enrolling at school in South Bend last month.

“Great family, great guy,” Austin said of Banks. “Just a great individual.”

Austin said Banks was one player he knew he could always count on.

“He never disappointed us,” the coach said. “He was one of the top players in the area. In fact, at our all-star meeting with other coaches, they were chiding me that anybody could run behind my line with Aaron blocking.”

The 6-foot-7, 344-pounder, who chose Notre Dame over offers from schools like Cal, Oregon and Michigan, had to get out of his comfort zone a bit to help his team in 2016.

“He’s not selfish and he accepts criticism,” said Banks. “We didn’t have quite the same talent we had in the past to surround him, so he had to take a larger role and he had to be a leader and he did.

“I was impressed because it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world for him. He’s a fairly self-contained guy, but he saw the bigger picture and the bigger picture was that we needed him to step out and the other guys followed him. He’s got great character, well-loved on the campus. All of his teachers think the world of him. He’s a tremendous young man. I expect him to be very successful at Notre Dame.”

Austin, who grew up in Canton, Ohio and played at Kent State, has his own connection to Notre Dame, which he hopes will be able to help Banks if he needs it.

“One of the guys I used to work out with played for Notre Dame for four years and wound up being a supreme court justice in the state of Minnesota,” Austin said, referring to Alan Page.

“I’m trying to get a hold of Alan so Alan can maybe mentor him and help reach out to him if he has some questions or issues about Notre Dame.”

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