If you’re a savvy Pitt fan and monitor social media activity, there’s a young man that’s hard to miss. His name is E.J. Banks (@Ejbanks55 on twitter). It’s nearly impossible to miss his passion for the Pitt football program. Pittsburgh Sports Now recently reached out to Banks to hear his backstory. We have a feeling he will end up a player that garners significant support from the fan base.
“It all started in the fifth grade. My teacher and cousin were big Pitt fans. I basically decided to jump in the mix and root for Pitt as well,” said Banks. “They would go to the game and I would go with my cousin. My teacher always had Pitt football items on the walls. I started to become a big fan and I loved Larry Fitzgerald when he was there. My cousin and teacher just turned me onto the Pitt football program and I have liked Pitt football ever since.”
“I started to say to myself, wow, I can see myself doing this,” he said. “I wanted to continue playing football after high school. I love the university (Pitt), the hospitality there is genuine and I just really love everything about the school. I decided I wanted to play there.”
In a recent tweet he proudly stated, “I’m just a Pittsburgh kid trying to become a Panther!” Banks is a bright, energetic and passionate young man with one goal in mind: walk-on to the Pitt football program and earn a scholarship. The 6-foot-3 inches, 275 pound defensive tackle is a graduate of East Allegheny High School in North Versailles, PA. To improve academically Banks decided to attend the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). His goal is to walk on the Pitt football team the fall of 2019. E.J. understands that nothing can take place until he’s officially admitted to Pitt, but he feel very confident that won’t be an issue. He has diligently worked to improve his academic status.
“I’m at CCAC focusing on academics night now but I hit the gym regularly. I’m training to improve myself physically for Pitt,” he said. “The first coach I spoke with at Pitt was assistant strength and conditioning Coach Austin Addington-Strapp. He’s a really great guy. When I went to Pitt’s spring game, he was the first coach I spoke with. I actually work at a Giant Eagle next to CCAC and he ironically showed up there shortly after. We started to have a fun conversation and he told me to keep doing what I’m doing. Keep working hard and staying persistent. He told me to keep my grades up and we’ll go from there.”
When Banks was asked about his strengths at the defensive tackle position, he stated, “Ultimately, I think, I’ve progressed from my senior year. I’m learning my strengths and weaknesses. I think one thing you’ll see, if I put out a tape right now of me working out, I got much bigger since my HUDL tape from my senior year. I’ve added size. I’m really efficient with my hands and quick off the ball. That’s one of my specialties. I stay low because you never want to give an offensive lineman your chest.”
Banks was asked if he attempted to emulate or model his game after professional player and he was quick with his response. “You know who I’m going to say and he’s a former Pitt player: Aaron Donald! He’s one of my mentors.”
Les Brown once stated, “If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” E.J Banks is a young man with a clear, district vision. He wants to play football and make an impact at Pitt.
“You and others may see my posts on social media. I’m a really sincere guy. I know I’m meant to be at the University of Pittsburgh and doing something special. I not only want to play for them, I want to win championships.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru