Jim Thorpe Award Winner – 2012, MSU
By being named the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award winner, Johnthan Banks became the first national individual award winner in Mississippi State history. A Walter Camp First Team All-American, Banks ranks first in career interception yards (320), tied for third in career interceptions, tied for sixth in interceptions returned for touchdowns, ranks eighth in interceptions per game (.32) and is tied for eighth with 26 career pass break ups. He tied the school record with 16 career interceptions, which is seventh in SEC history. He owns the SEC record with 20.0 career yards per interception return.
Banks finished the 2012 season with four interceptions for 124 yards, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, seven pass break ups, and 59 total tackles. Over his career at Mississippi State, he recorded 16 total interceptions for 320 yards. He earned First-Team All-America honors from Walter Camp, the Football Writers Association of America, Phil Steele, Lindy’s, and FoxSportsNext. He earned First-Team All-SEC honors from the AP, SEC, Coaches, ESPN.com, CBSSPorts.com and Phil Steele. He was also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award and the Conerly Trophy, given to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi.
Banks won the 2012 Thorpe Award over finalists Dee Milliner of Alabama and Phillip Thomas of Fresno State. Banks is the fourth consecutive player from the SEC to be chosen as a Thorpe Award winner. Previous winners include Morris Claiborne, LSU (2011); Patrick Peterson, LSU (2010); and Eric Berry, Tennessee (2009).
“Four years ago, Johnthan Banks made a decision to stay at home and represent the people of Mississippi,” MSU head coach Dan Mullen said. “What a tremendous honor for a young man from Maben, Miss., to be honored with the Jim Thorpe Award for the best defensive back in college football. It is something special for the entire state of Mississippi.”
Banks has proven to have big-play potential and has developed into a pure cover corner during his time at Mississippi State. His commitment to his community, family and team make Johnthan Banks the perfect representative of the Jim Thorpe Award.