Honoring his volunteer work off the field, Mississippi State All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks was named the Southeastern Conference Football Community Service Team Player of the Week for Week 10, the league announced Tuesday.
A staple in the community, the Maben, Miss., native leads his teammates to the Starkville Wal-Mart each winter for a Salvation Army fundraising drive. Along with his colleagues, Banks rings the Salvation Army Bell, purchases Christmas gifts for underprivileged youths and signs autographs for fans. Each summer, he has taken time out of his limited summer break to volunteer as a lead camp counselor for a youth football camp in Mathiston, Miss.
Every semester, the All-American contributes his time to MSU's "Champions Breakfast" at Sudduth Elementary School in Starkville, where he spends his day encouraging students to eat breakfast and work hard in the classroom. At West Oktibbeha Elementary, Banks donates his free time training children for the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT), which consists of him spending one-on-one time with students and preparing them for the statewide language arts and mathematics assessment test.
Last Tuesday, Banks became the first MSU player to be named a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which honors the student-athlete who has the biggest IMPACT on his team on and off the field. IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. The award is unique because it represents the first trophy to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college player.
Earlier this month as well, the team captain became the first Bulldog ever to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which celebrates loyalty and achievement for staying in school (CLASS). The Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Bulldog fans can vote for Banks for the award at www.SeniorClassAward.com.
Banks and his Bulldogs return to the field Saturday for a pivotal SEC West showdown against Texas A&M at Davis Wade Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. CT with the game being televised live on ESPN.