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Nick’s Film Lab: East Allegheny TE/DE TJ Banks

Part of a new edition to the site, Nick’s laboratory will feature the film study of two stand-out recruits each week.

The 1st of our weekly two-part series features TJ Banks (6’5 245) TE/DE from East Allegheny High School (North Versailles, PA) TJ is a blue chip prospect closing in on his commitment day which he has tweeted will be October 18th. Banks currently has offers from West Virginia, Wisconsin, Pitt, Penn St, Michigan St Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, and Syracuse amongst others. Sources close to Banks indicate the Mountaineers seem to be the favorite to land the 3 star WPIAL Tight End. Banks would add a dynamic of size, speed, and athleticism to Holgorsen’s fast-paced run-and gun style offense. Let’s take a look at a few clips that will highlight what this man can do on both sides of the ball

Let’s open up our film study by showcasing what Banks does at defensive end that puts on display his overall athletic capability. Banks is lined up here at the field DE – we can immediately see a good get-off showing fluid hip flexibility. As Banks sheds his man and closes down the LOS he is able to shake the backside pulling guard – forcing the play to bounce – doing his job to perfection. It gets better, once forcing the ball to bounce to the perimeter he shows off the lateral quickness with a quick change of direction and chase to the sideline. This is playing solid assignment football while also showing the natural athleticism that makes him one of the best talents the 2018 WPIAL class has to offer.

Banks again lined up as the field DE here. He gets a pretty clean look at the QB coming off the edge. The bigger point being made is this; watch as the QB shakes the rush and begins to roll right. Effort is everything at this level. It’s everything in high school, in college, and in the NFL. Banks misses his first shot but is able to come full circle showing a big time motor and chase the QB down from behind for the sack.  This is relentless pursuit. The kind of hunger necessary to keep climbing the ladder. These are things you can’t teach. Either you have the will or you don’t. The intangibles separate the men from the boys as the competition gets better and better.

Alright, so here’s Banks in his natural habitat. As a pass-catching tight end. East Allegheny likes to detach Banks from their formation – utilizing his ability as more of a receiver than a traditional blocking tight end. Banks is lined up as the #2 receiver split out to the left. East Allegheny here is running a stutter-fade out of the slot. A great redzone playcall against man coverage down this tight. This call is solely designed to shake Banks loose one-on-one in the endzone – allowing him to go body a smaller DB and go up and  get this thing. The DB makes a great play on the ball – using the correct hand to make a clean swat as opposed to potentially drawing a flag. Banks shows the coordination and the focus to follow this ball to the ground and come up clean with it off the deflection. This shows great hand–eye work, tremendous focus, and the will to make a diving effort to come up with it. Big time play in crunch time.

Here we are again, Banks flexed out in the slot as the #2 receiver to the right. Banks displays agile, concise route running for a TE in this cut-up, really showing his ability to be utilized as a serious weapon in the pass game at the next level. Banks has a Post-corner out of the slot, or what’s commonly referred to as a Dino route. Banks stems the post to gain the leverage towards the sideline. He uses the big frame against a smaller DB to go bring this down at its highest point.  When thrown correctly, against similar coverage, this route is next to unstoppable. When you have the added ability to flex a TE out and use the size advantage it obviously creates matchup/personnel nightmares. This is what the TE position has evolved into. You must be able to run these type of routes detached from the line of scrimmage. An asset like this at TE creates endless possibilities for an offense looking to become more dynamic. Easy to see why Offensive Coordinator’s across the country are looking to add him to their arsenal next fall.

Banks in the same position as the previous clip (flexed out as the #2 receiver to the right). Looks like the same formation (2×2). A nice display again of smooth route running for a 245 LB kid. He gives a quick out and in move setting up the DB nicely. He flashes over the ball showing a big target and giving the QB a nice security blanket to check it down to. He knows when to break it off and sit it down here against zone coverage. Intelligent route running to find the soft spot and post up.

Banks in this clip is showing something truly unique. He lines up as the #1 receiver to the field here or as most offenses would label this (Z). He has a curl route designed again to sit him down and expose the soft spot in zone coverage. Easy pitch and catch when the timing is right. Banks actually slips at the top of the route – which makes this combat catch even more impressive. He is able to come and MEET the ball arms fully extended – not letting it into his chest extending the play and turning it up-field to pick up a few more yards– a great sign of a TE who wants the ball and can make it happen in traffic.

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