Athlete of the Week: J’quonne Banks

Clewiston High School senior cornerback and wide receiver J’quonne Banks is the week’s Big Lake Athlete of the Week for not only his performance in the Tigers game against Dunbar on Oct. 26, but his high level of play all season for the Clewiston football program.

Banks had an interception, two pass breakups and three tackles against Dunbar and now has three back-to-back games with an interception, all coming in high-pressure moments during those games.

Clewiston head coach Brad Garret has been impressed with Banks’ first year as a full-time starter.

“I’ve know Banks ever since he was in the eighth grade,” said Garret. “His older brother was a great player here in Clewiston, so he kind of always had that shadow on him; I think that made him work extra hard for what he’s got. This summer he really came in and just worked hard to put himself in the best position to have a successful senior year.”

Banks has five interceptions on the year. In pass coverage, he has the ability to match any receiver he lines up against and puts himself in great position to break up passes. He’s also not afraid to come down in run support and punish opposing running backs who make it to the second level. As a receiver, his speed is his number one asset; he’s also shown ability to avoid defenders once the ball is in his hands.

That speed will come in handy when the Tigers face the Okeechobee Brahmans on Nov. 2. The Brahmans have speedy wide receiver Jalen Pryor on their squad, who just had a 41-yard touchdown catch against Jensen Beach. If Banks can shut down Pryor, it’ll make the Brahmans one-dimensional. If Banks also provides good run support, it’ll make the Brahmans no-dimensional.

If you watch any tape on Banks, one thing becomes clear: He plays with a lot of confidence. Garret says that confidence started coming out in Banks when he put work in over the summer.

“Last year he was one of those guys who was afraid to mess up, and if he made a mistake it would bother him and eat him up,” said Garret. “They say defensive backs can’t look in the rearview mirror; you just have to move on. Starting this year he really did a good job of learning how to let things go and moving on to the next play. I think that’s where a lot of that confidence comes from, and ever since he started playing like that, you see things just going his way this year.”

If you have someone you’d like to nominate for Big Lake Athlete of the Week, email Lake Okeechobee News sports reporter Richard Marion at rmarion@newszap.com.

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