North Versailles (Pa.) East Allegheny athlete TJ Banks wanted to make his birthday special and he did just that by offering his verbal commitment to West Virginia Wednesday.
Banks, 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, had collected offers from Pittsburgh, Maryland, Syracuse, Illinois, Temple and a number of others along with the Mountaineers.
Ultimately his decision came down to the Big 12 Conference program given the relationships he established with the Mountaineers coaching staff as well as the plan that was laid out for him when it comes to how he’ll be utilized at the college level.
A versatile prospect that could potentially end up on either side of the ball, Banks is expected to be given the first crack on the offensive side where he is a natural pass-catcher that not only can use his size to get open but is a competent route runner as well. Safeties coach Matt Caponi along with Dan Gerberry served as the lead recruiters for the talented prospect.
Athletic enough to play wide receiver at the college level, the tight end prospect has the size and speed that the Mountaineers have been searching for to help create mismatches in the offense.
West Virginia emerged into the forefront of Banks’ recruitment during the spring and things only further progressed from there as the Mountaineers prioritized the Pennsylvania product.
A campus visit to Morgantown in June only furthered things along and the connection between the two continued to blossom over the rest of the summer and fall as he was back on campus for the East Carolina game.
“West Virginia is my leader,” Banks said in August.
Rated as a Rivals.com four-star prospect, Banks has been tabbed as the 15th best tight end nationally and is the 11th best prospect in the Keystone State.
The athlete becomes the 18th commitment for West Virginia in the 2018 class and represents the third four-star prospect behind Fairmont (W.Va.) Fairmont Senior defensive end Dante Stills and Philadelphia (Pa.) Neumann-Goretti running back Leddie Brown.
Banks is the third big pass catcher to commit to West Virginia in this cycle along with Oak Park (Il.) Fenwick athlete Mike O’Laughlin and Chicago (Ill.) Marist tight end TJ Ivy. But Banks could potentially end up along the defensive line eventually as he develops at the college level.
WVSports.com will have more with Banks in the near future.