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Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks picks up 4th national award watch list selection


FILE - Mississippi State senior cornerback Johnthan Banks named to fourth national trophy watch list and 1st-team All-Southeastern Conference team by the league coaches.

FILE - Mississippi State senior cornerback Johnthan Banks named to fourth national trophy watch list and 1st-team All-Southeastern Conference team by the league coaches. Photo by: MSU athletics



Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University cornerback Johnthan Banks said Wednesday it's going to be harder this season to ignore the individual accolades than any other previous year he's been in Starkville. 


The job just got a little more difficult as he was the only Bulldogs player to receive All-SEC first-team honors while also being named to Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, given annually to the top defensive player in college football. 


On Friday, Banks was named to the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award watch list for the second consecutive season. 


"It's so hard not to pay attention to all the stuff coming at you but I try to be humble and keep myself around my teammates," Banks said Wednesday. "My honors and whatever in the preseason ain't going to determine what makes our season. I'm looking at this team to be one of the top teams in the country and I'm just going to keep working hard and not listen to none of that." 


Banks was selected Monday as one of 66 players named to the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to college football's best defensive player as voted by NCAA head coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club along with sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country. 


Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 29, and the three finalists headed to the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala in Atlantic City, N.J., will be unveiled Nov. 19. 


With one more interception this season, Banks will be all alone in second place on the all-time interceptions list in MSU history and just four behind Walt Harris for the career record in that category. 


Before receiving the watch list honor Monday, Banks had been given the following preseason selections:  


- 2012 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list 


- 2012 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list 


- 2012 Jim Thorpe Award watch list 


- 2012 Ronnie Lott Impact Award watch list 


- First Team All-America by Athlon Magazine 


- Second Team All-America by Phil Steele Magazine  


- All-SEC First Team by Athlon, Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, The Birmingham News, Lindys, Phil Steele and USA Today and SEC coaches. 


- All-SEC Third Team (Special Teams): Athlon, Phil Steele 


- Lindys Magazine "Best Cover Corner in SEC" 


Banks, a native of Maben, was a semifinalist last season for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nations best defensive back and the promotional officials at MSU have already put him in a billboard that's been up near his hometown for months. 


Banks has 12 career interceptions, tied for sixth nationally among active players and his three interception returns for touchdowns are tied for the national lead. He tied for second in the Southeastern Conference with 14 passes defended this year. 


"What happens now is he'll get an opportunity to be a possible All-American candidate on a solid football team and those are just some of the thing that make college football great," MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said. 


The SEC had 14 players get selected for the Bednarik watch list. The University of Alabama and Louisiana State University had four defensive players on this year's Bednarik watch list. The Crimson Tide have linebacker Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley along with defensive tackle Jesse Williams and cornerback Robert Lester. The Tigers have defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu and Eric along with defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery. The University of Georgia and University of South Carolina were the only other SEC programs with multiple selections with two apiece. 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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