Brian Banks was a highly sought after recruit after an outstanding high school career, and he had verbally committed to USC, before a rape allegation in the summer of 2002 led to him serving five years in prison. His accuser’s story was later found to be fabricated, so Banks was fully exonerated and he is now trying to revive his football career.
Multiple NFL teams gave Banks a chance to tryout in 2012, and he wound up attending minicamp with the Seattle Seahawks. Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll was the head coach at USC when Banks was offered a scholarship and verbally committed to the school, so it was not surprising to see the coach give his former recruit a shot. Banks did not earn a spot on the Seahawks’ roster though, and wound up playing last season in the UFL for the Las Vegas Locomotives before the league suspended their season.
But Banks’ NFL dream remains alive, as the Atlanta Falcons signed him in April. He is expected to compete for a spot at inside linebacker for the Falcons, and he reportedly assumed a de facto leadership role by running the defense at middle linebacker during rookie minicamp in early May.
The Falcons have a solid trio of starting linebackers with Sean Witherspoon and Stephen Nicholas on the outside and Akeem Dent in the middle, but beyond that their depth at the position is not outstanding. So Banks seems to have a legitimate chance to earn a spot on Atlanta’s 53-man roster, and simply staying healthy during training camp and preseason games may be enough to accomplish that.
Banks is a player everyone around the league will be rooting for, but his on-field performance will determine if he is able to stick on an NFL roster. If the Falcons decide to let him go at some point, another team may be willing to give him a chance.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.