ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — Aliquippa class of 2024 defensive back Brandon Banks announced his commitment in front of his family, teammates and coaches at Aliquippa High School Friday afternoon.
Banks announced his top four schools at the end of June, which included FBS schools in Ohio, Liberty and Coastal Carolina. Other schools that offered Banks were MAC schools in Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo, other FBS schools in Charlotte, Marshall and UMass, Ivy League schools in Columbia, Dartmouth and Penn, as well as Colgate, Delaware, Fordham, Howard, Lafayette, Lehigh and New Hampshire.
Prior to committing, he put three hats on the table, Liberty, Yale and Coastal Carolina from left to right facing those in attendance. His friend and teammate, Class of 2023 safety Donovan Walker, who committed to Ohio, handed him an Ohio Bobcat hat. Banks took the Ohio hat, placed it down and then put on the Yale hat to announce his commitment.
— Dominic Campbell (@DOMISMONEY) July 21, 2023
Choosing an FCS program over three FBS programs is one that might baffle some people. For Banks though, it was an easy decision not just in terms of football, but for life as well.
“I felt like I was needed for their program,” Banks said. “They felt like I could be one of their next starting corners. I just felt needed and that’s why I should go”
It’s not like Yale players can’t succeed at the next level either. Former Pittsburgh Central Catholic safety Rodney Thomas played for Yale and hardly had any recognition throughout high school. Thomas succeeded at Yale and impressed NFL scouts to the point that the Indianapolis Colts drafted him in the Seventh Round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thomas saw significant playing time as a rookie last season, with 52 tackles, six passes defended and four interceptions.
“It means a lot,” Banks said on Thomas making the league from the WPIAL. “That’s another thing that factored into my decision. Somebody that went to Yale and then going to the league. Aliquippa puts players in the league. It’s not just the school, it’s all about the student-athlete. So that’s another reason why I picked it.”
Banks’ family has been incredibly supportive throughout the recruiting process. His father, mother and sister all joined him for the press conference announcing his commitment to Yale.
He and his family visited Yale, which ended up convincing Banks that he had to commit there. It also didn’t hurt to have a great coaching staff led by Mike Warfield who helped Banks make the right decision.
“They’ve been great,” Banks said on the Aliquippa coaching staff throughout his recruitment. “They’ve just been telling me to go where I feel like I was needed at, where home was at. They just want me to succeed, so they’ve just been pushing me to find where that place was at.”
Banks is ready for his final season with the Quips and wanted to let Yale fans know that he’ll continue to work to be the best player he can be before he shows up in New Haven, Conn.
The commitment is also a culmination of a dream for Banks and his teammates. Showing that they can excel on the field and in the classroom will set them up for success for the rest of their lives. Fellow Aliquippa Class of 2024 player, Cameron Lindsay, recently announced his commitment to Pitt in June and congratulated Banks on his commitment to Yale on Friday.
“All the big names, growing up as a kid, you just want to be the next big name,” Banks said. “Me, Cam…we’ve just been talking about it since we were little kids. Making it out and going to the league. Stuff like that. So for me to be able to commit to Yale, it’s a big thing for me.”