Dekaney’s Banks set to make the most of All-American Bowl
For Dekaney senior Marcus Banks, playing football wasn’t a matter of motivation — it was destiny.
Banks is one of a select few Houston-area athletes invited to play in the 2019 All-American Bowl, one of the most prestigious high school football all-star events in America.
Banks, a 4-star senior cornerback and step-son of late former Florida State guard Bobby Meeks, was glad to officially visit his father’s alma mater the first weekend of December.
After decommitting from LSU, Oct. 16, Banks received his All-American Bowl invitation the following week.
Banks, who has 25 college offers from teams all over the country, recently let the Twitter world know when and where his decision to play at the next level will be made.
“I will be announcing my College Decision January 5, 2019 Live on NBC at the Army All-American Bowl,” Banks said Oct. 29 via Twitter.
On Thursday, Nov. 29, Banks made it official, receiving his All-American award at Dekaney. Banks will be a participant in the 2019 All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Atascocita’s Kenyon Green and St. Pius X’s Grant Gunnell out of the Houston area were also named as participants.
Formerly known as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the event features two teams, East vs. West, which are comprised of the country’s 100 best high school players. There is also the Under Armour All-American Game in Florida and the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii.
“We always knew he had God-given talent, and he has worked extremely hard and has been focused on this for many years,” said his mother Leah Banks. “He’s put in countless hours and has made a lot of sacrifices.”
According to Banks, his mother’s reassurance has enabled him to remain strong during the months since his father’s death earlier this year.
“She’s the real All-American,” Banks said.
On Dec. 11, Banks had the rare opportunity to receive an in-home visit from Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. He also received Florida head football coach Dan Mullen.
Banks has not only received offers from in-state schools Texas A&M, Texas, Houston, Baylor, and TCU, but also notable out-of-state programs like Florida State, Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia, Notre Dame, Stanford, Florida, Michigan, Auburn and others.
The 4-star prospect is the 14th best cornerback recruit in the country, 18th in the top football recruits in Texas and No. 189 in the list of top 2019 football recruits, according to 247Sports.
“(Banks) has all-star playing ability, but he also has all-star character,” said Dekaney head football coach Anthony Williams. “I’ve known him since he was in the fifth grade, and his dad was a real close friend of mine. I had no idea back then that he would leave this kind of impact on this school, but it’s been a blessing to coach him. He’s really worked hard for this.”
In Banks’ senior year at Dekaney, the Wildcats missed the playoffs by one point via a five-way tiebreaker.
Dekaney (5-5, 4-3) had to win by 11 points over Eisenhower in order to get in the playoffs. They won by 10, 24-14, Nov. 8, at George Stadium.
The Wildcats, Spring, Eisenhower, Benjamin Davis and Nimitz all tied for second place in District 16-6A at 4-3. Spring, Eisenhower and Davis advanced.
In 2017, Dekaney finished as Bi-District finalists.
Williams has now seen three of his athletes accept invitations to either the All-American Bowl or the Under Armour All-America Game in Banks, Trey Williams and Malcolm Epps.
“Being selected into these bowl games is a great accomplishment,” Williams said. “For me, it’s a bridge-builder. He’s building a bridge that other kids can follow, just like Malcolm built a bridge for him.”
Williams recognizes that Banks has been building on Dekaney’s legacy while similarly providing younger athletes an example of concentration, ambition and attainment.
To Banks, it’s no secret as to what helps keep him motivated, sustained and with a greater sense of purpose — his faith.
“That’s what comes with life,” Banks said. “It’s not always going to be a straight line, and you’re going to hit some bumpy roads. If it’s meant for you, it’s going to be. God has a way, and not everybody’s path looks the same. There’s different paths for everybody, and you’ve just got to stay focused, stay level-headed.”