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Nebraska vs. Purdue, 9/29

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds (left) shakes hands with Husker recruit Brant Banks of Houston prior to the Purdue game Sept. 29 at Memorial Stadium.

As a 5-year-old, Brant Banks already had a black belt in tae kwon do.

Up until two years ago, his sport of choice in college was going to be basketball.

But when the 6-foot-8, 275-pound lineman signed on the dotted line Wednesday, it was to play football at Nebraska.

"My body just developed into a football player's body, and I started getting recognized by coaches all over the country for football," Banks told ABC 13 TV in Houston after signing. "So it kind of chose me, but I'm happy. I love football, everybody in my family plays football, and I think it's the right move."

A longtime target for the Huskers, Banks chose NU over Baylor. He made his official visit Sept. 1 for the Akron game and returned later in the year for an unofficial visit.

While most schools recruited Banks as an offensive lineman, NU coaches like his length as a defensive end in their defensive scheme.

"But however my body develops is what I'll be playing," Banks said. "I'm happy playing either, but I'll start out playing defensive line."

NU defensive line coach Mike Dawson and offensive line coach Greg Austin made the trip to Houston to visit Banks in late November, as did head coach Scott Frost.

The relationship Banks developed with those three and the people he met in Lincoln made the difference, he said.

"It wasn't really the flashy weight rooms or the cool locker rooms, it was more the people there," Banks said. "Every school has nice facilities and everything, but I just really felt that I fit in with the people there. They were honest and kind, and it was a great feeling when I was up there."

Banks will enroll early, coming to Lincoln in January for the start of the spring semester.

Banks joins Norfolk Catholic verbal pledge Ethan Piper as prospects who could play either side of the ball, but assuming both start on defense, the Huskers now have four verbally committed to join Dawson’s room, joining three-star defensive end Mosai Newsom (Waverly, Iowa) and four-star Ty Robinson (Gilbert, Arizona), who announced he'd picked the Huskers on Wednesday afternoon. 

Banks and Piper give the Huskers a degree of flexibility if nothing else. NU has four offensive linemen verbally committed and is looking for more. Should NU end up light on the offensive line, perhaps the plan changes for either Banks or Piper.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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2019 Husker football recruits

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Matthew Anderson OT 6-7 250 Leesville, La. ***
Brant Banks DL 6-8 285 Houston (Westbury Christian) ***
Bryce Benhart OT 6-9 305 Lakeville, Minn. (North) ****
Desmond Bland OL 6-4 300 Flossmoor, Ill. (Arizona Western C.C.) ****
Darien Chase WR 6-1 175 Vancouver, Wash. (Union) ****
Myles Farmer DB 6-3 180 Atlanta (Westlake) ***
Jimmy Fritzsche OL 6-7 250 Greenville, S.C. ***
Jamin Graham OLB 6-6 240 Attalla, Ala. (Etowah) ***
Jackson Hannah ILB 6-3 220 Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell) ****
Nick Henrich ILB 6-4 210 Omaha (Burke) ****
Chris Hickman TE 6-5 220 Omaha (Burke) ***
Rahmir Johnson RB 5-10 170 Oradell, N.J. (Bergen Catholic) ****
Michael Lynn OT 6-7 300 Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek) ***
Luke McCaffrey QB 6-3 185 Littleton, Colo. (Valor Christian) ***
Dedrick Mills RB 5-10 227 Waycross, Ga. (Garden City C.C.) ***
Jamie Nance WR 6-0 170 Blanchard, Okla. ***
Garrett Nelson OLB 6-3 235 Scottsbluff ***
Mosai Newsom DE 6-5 260 Waverly, Iowa (Waverly-Shell Rock) ***
Quinton Newsome DB 6-2 180 Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett) ***
Ethan Piper DL 6-4 275 Norfolk (Catholic) ***
Ty Robinson DE 6-6 285 Gilbert, Ariz. (Higley) ****
Wandale Robinson RB 5-9 180 Frankfort, Ky. (Western Hills) ****
Garrett Snodgrass ATH 6-3 225 York ***
Ronald Thompkins RB 6-0 203 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson) ***
Javin Wright DB 6-3 195 Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton) ***

Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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