Purdue has a lot of choices going into the 2018 season at quarterback. David Blough is the 5th year senior with the most starts and mobility. Elijah Sindelar closed 2017 strong even on a torn ACL. Nick Sipe and Jack Plummer are the hotshot freshmen that are already impressing coaches.
Well, one quarterback already knows his role, and that is walk-on Aaron Banks.
Banks was a candidate to be Purdue’s student body President and on Tuesday it was announced that he and running mate Olivia Keller won the Purdue Student Government Election:
Shared-ticket presidential candidate Aaron Banks and vice presidential candidate Olivia Keller won the 2018 Purdue Student Government elections in a close victory, as announced at PSG’s official election reveal Tuesday.
Banks and Keller won with 55.6 percent of the vote, while runner-ups Carley Jagel and Dhruv Bhargava followed with 44.4 percent.
The swearing-in ceremony for Banks and Keller will take place on Wednesday, and their work in the executive office starts immediately. This weekend, they will accompany current president and vice president Sam Eschker and Jon Jones to Washington, D.C., for “Big Ten on the Hill,” a conference organized for student governments of Big Ten universities around the country.
Banks is not the first football player to run. Six years ago Rob Henry and Ishmael Aristide both ran and lost. Banks is entering his senior season as a walk-on and he is majoring in engineering. He is carrying a 3.0 GPA and even as a walk-on in the most demanding position on the team he has been very close to playing a few times. In fact, he actually got in a game once.
In the otherwise forgettable 54-36 home loss to Indiana in 2015 Purdue was down to only Austin Appleby and Banks at QB. Blough was out with a concussion and coaches did not want to burn Sindelar’s redshirt. Appleby was knocked out for a few plays and Banks completed his only passing attempts for four yards on 3rd and 5.
He came close again in this year’s Bucket game. Blough was hurt, Sindelar was playing on a torn ACL (though we did not know it), Jared Sparks was banged up, and Sipe was trying to preserve a redshirt. We were a play away from seeing him again, only with much higher stakes.
The kid gets it done though:
Winners win, right? Banks has been balancing football and engineering school, and doing it with a 3.0 grade-point average that helped him land an internship this summer with the consulting firm Accenture in Chicago. Banks figures the fall semester will be difficult, what with classes and football and his latest triumph, serving as student-body president, but he didn’t run for office just to sit back and thump his chest about winning.
“I have a vision of inclusion on campus and collaboration between all groups, no matter their backgrounds,” he’s telling me this week by telephone. “I recognize that there’s a disconnect between a lot of groups on campus, and with PSG (Purdue student government) being the bridge that bridges the gap between some groups, we can have a more progressive campus and a more sound Purdue community.”
In high school banks led Brebeuf to the Class 3A title game for the first time in program history. He was also a basketball teammate of P.J. Thompson while he was there, averaging 10.4 points per game when both were seniors. Now he is leading our student government, which is a great honor.