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Monday, Feb 19, 2018
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Buccaneers rookie CB Banks inspired by toddler son

TAMPA - On the football field, Johnthan Banks prides himself on being an intense competitor.
But when the final gun sounds, the second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turns into an admitted softy.
“I love football, I love to compete and I play with a lot of emotion,'' said the 6-foot-2 cornerback from Mississippi State.
When Banks, 23, looks into the eyes of his toddler son, Keidan, he melts.
“It made me take responsibility,'' Banks said of his role as a young father. “We call him K.J. He'll be 2 in nine days. My football career could be over any second. My little boy means the world to me. I don't want him to ever want for nothing.
“I don't want him to ever have to suffer for anything. It really matured me a lot and made me work that much harder to provide a happy life for him.''
Banks, who married his high school sweetheart, Mallory, was raised in a rural Mississippi environment that tested him daily.
“I came from a pretty hard background,'' said Banks, who started 45 games and registered 16 interceptions for the Bulldogs. “My dad was killed in a car accident and I was raised by my grandparents. I was raised in the church. I always try to keep a smile on my face and I'm always willing to help others.
“Growing up, I didn't have a lot. I always said to myself that if I ever have a kid and a wife, I was always going to make their life as easy as possible so they wouldn't have to struggle like I did.''
After a standout prep career, playing quarterback and defensive back, Banks started seven games at free safety as a Bulldog freshman before being switched to corner.
“It helped me a lot playing in the box,'' said Banks, who is participating this weekend in Tampa Bay's rookie minicamp at One Buc Place. “When I moved to cornerback, I knew what our safety was doing. I think corner is the hardest position besides quarterback. It's really a guessing game. You don't know if he's going to run a post or a fade. He knows where he's going – but I don't.''
Banks figures to take a lot of that guesswork away by hanging around four-time Pro Bowl corner Darrelle Revis, acquired from the Jets in an April 21 trade.
“It's amazing because a day before I got picked by Tampa Bay, I said it's going to be crazy if I get to play with Revis,'' Banks said. “He's the best corner in football and I can learn a lot from this guy. I think I'm a really good football player, too. I can elevate my game being around a guy like him.''
Despite impressive credentials, Banks lasted until the 43rd pick in the draft. Some clubs may have been wary of his pedestrian time in the 40-yard dash.
“Everybody can look at my tape and tell I'm not a 4.6 guy,'' he said. “My tape don't lie. It speaks for itself. I played in the SEC four years. I played against (Tennessee wide receiver) Cordarrelle Patterson, who runs a 4.47, and he didn't really do anything against me.''
As a senior, Banks won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back. Playing against quality opponents every week helped him grasp the No. 1 requirement of any successful corner.
A short memory.
“People are going to catch balls on you,'' he said. “This is the NFL. You've got guys like Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones … the best of the best. You're going to get beat, so all you can do is go on to the next one.''

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Buccaneers rookie CB Banks inspired by toddler son