Losses remain up in air for City receiver Banks Senior has enjoyed two 10-0 seasons

August 27, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Dwight Banks hasn't experienced a loss in varsity football.

In the last two seasons at City, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver has been a member of Knights squads that have won Maryland Scholastic Association championships.

And losing will be the furthest thing from Banks' mind as the senior tri-captain leads the Knights against Douglass in their Sept. 3 season-opener.

"I'm just going to be thinking, 'Go out and motivate the team, seek and destroy Douglass,' " said Banks, a senior whose 49 receptions for 1,036 yards and nine touchdowns over two seasons have helped the Knights to consecutive 10-0 seasons.

This season, Banks and the Knights have two new worlds to conquer.

City public schools, which separated from the MSA's private schools to join the state association, will crown regular-season champions in the 4A, 3A and 2A leagues this year. The Knights will compete in Class 3A.

Then, following a three-game state playoff series in November, each classification will crown a postseason state champion.

"I never think about losing," Banks said. "People are saying we can't do it [go undefeated] three years in a row. I want to prove them wrong."

The 4.4-second 40-yard -- sprinter has opened the eyes of college recruiters nationwide.

Prep Football Report lists Banks among the nation's top 10 receivers. He's ranked among the nation's top Division I prospects according to Athlon Football Magazine.

Syracuse, Clemson, Notre Dame, UCLA, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Rutgers and Pittsburgh have written letters Banks and requested films of him in action.

His potential, says coach George Petrides, rivals that of City quarterback Terrence Suber, The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Offensive Player of the Year, who will be a freshman at Wake Forest this fall.

"It's [the recruiting] more than it was with Terrence. I think he's [Banks] the best player in the area,"said Petrides, whose career record is 98-68-1 since 1975.

Banks' 710 score on the Scholastic Assessment Test, along with a 2.0 grade-point average during his senior year, will make him eligible under NCAA rules at a Division I college his first season.

"I like Penn State. I've been a fan of theirs ever since I was little. But I don't want to worry about all the college stuff until after the season," said Banks, who grew up playing in Loch Raven's recreation league. "So far, I'm handling things pretty well."

Banks gracefully handled double- and triple-coverage last year, contributing 656 yards and five touchdowns on 29 receptions.

"Some of my best attributes, I think, are my hands, my speed and my ability to break tackles. But I also like to make people miss [tackles]," said Banks. "When I go out for a pass, no matter whether it's a good or bad one, my goal is to catch the ball. Then I'll do anything I can to score a TD."

Banks' most memorable reception, he says, came in last season's 12-7, come-from-behind victory over Gilman in a muddy game.

The Knights had trailed 7-0 with 5:13 left in the third period and faced a fourth-and-9. Banks out-leaped a Gilman defender near the left sideline, then outran another defender to the end zone on a 79-yard play.

Behind new quarterback, 6-3, 190-pound Teron Matthews, Banks will be called on more frequently this year, Petrides said.

"Last year was a test, but we may throw even more this year. Teron throws the ball higher than Terrence, but Dwight's got very strong, powerful legs and extraordinary leaping ability," said Petrides.

"He's worked with the weights since last season and came to practice looking the best I've seen him. I know he wants to be a leader in continuing our [winning] streak."

Banks was cut from the junior varsity as a freshman after missing several practices with a groin injury. As a sophomore, he caught 20 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.

Before his junior season, Street and Smith's named Banks as one of the Nation's Top 50 Underclassmen to Watch.

"I'm ready to take on any challenge," Banks said. "I don't think leadership should be limited to senior tri-captains, but ever since rec ball, that's [a leader] what I've tried to be."

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