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Notre Dame Football

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 10 | OL Aaron Banks

July 8, 2019

Today, we will start a look at 10 players who hold the most intrigue on the roster as fall camp is just under a month away. They might not be the star of the team, but they could be a younger prospect oozing with potential or an older guy who has patiently waited for their time to come. 

These are 10 players who I will be paying close attention to as camp starts, but also the first few games of the season to see if they break into the rotation or what Brian Kelly’s plan of attack for them is in 2019. 

When I thought of this series junior offensive lineman, Aaron Banks wasn’t a name on the list. But in the world of college football, things change with a drop of a hat. 

Unfortunately for Banks, he broke his foot and had surgery in late June to repair it. Now, some sources believed the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder would be back in time for fall camp, but the question is what defines being back?

The first question for me is if he is back for camp, how hard does Notre Dame push him? Pushing him too soon could lead to a setback, which would be worse than easing him into things or even having Josh Lugg or Dillan Gibbons start at left guard for a game or two. 

However, the flipside to taking time is the fact he’s an enormous human, so naturally, the longer he isn’t active, Banks has the potential to get out of shape. The good news on this front is Notre Dame’s Director of Football Performance Matt Balis will probably not let that happen and Banks has shown discipline when it comes to his weight in the past. If you remember, Banks dropped a ton of weight before showing up to Notre Dame as an early enrollee to avoid taking a year to simply get into shape. 

Why is it so crucial for Notre Dame to find the right outcome? Well, Banks end the 2018 season as the starting left guard and would likely be the backup left tackle if Liam Eichenberg went down. 

Is Banks the most important offensive lineman on the roster? He very could be. You could make arguments for several others, but few have the flexibility to start at multiple positions and play multiple positions at a high level. 

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly gave Banks high praise before his first start last fall against Navy. 

“We really like Banks,” Kelly said. “It’s his time. He’s been assignment correct and he’s going to be a nice addition for us at left guard. We wanted someone as close to Alex Bars as possible. He can move well and he has a great size.

“He pass protects very well. He moves his feet very well and plays with explosiveness.”

Kelly didn’t go out on a limb with his comments, but it was a bold statement at the time about a player who hadn’t played too much. It worked well as the Irish won the next five games and went to the College Football Playoff.

If Notre Dame doesn’t have Banks to start the season, it might not be the end of the world with Louisville and New Mexico on the schedule. 

And while the intrigue with Banks doesn’t come from a standpoint of what he can do on the field, I do know Notre Dame will absolutely need Banks back on September 21st when they take a trip to Athens to face Georgia. 

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