Today we feature the rare 5th year walk-on. He may even be on scholarship because Purdue does have a few left over and he would be a worthy candidate.
Aaron Banks - Sr.
Indianapolis, IN (Brebeuf Prep)
6’4”, 200 pounds
2018 Projection: Deep Reserve at Quarterback
It has been a long trip for Banks. He used to play at North Central, but transferred to Brebeuf as a senior and had a breakout year. He led Brebeuf to its first ever state finals appearance in 2013. Before he came along Brebeuf hadn’t even won a sectional. He was also a decent basketball player and had offers to play football at other smaller school, but he wanted to study engineering. That led to Purdue, where he walked on to the team in 2014.
Normally you don’t hear a lot about walk-on quarterbacks, but Banks has had an exceptional career. In 2015 against Indiana with David Blough out and Purdue trying to preserve a redshirt for Elijah Sindealr we were down to Austin Appleby and Banks. If Appleby got injured and had to leave for a few plays Banks was going to be the guy.
That’s exactly what happened:
Banks goes to Purdue, keeps on winning. He makes the team as walk-on for Darrell Hazell, and he’s the fourth-string quarterback. Comes the 2015 IU game, and the Boilermakers are down to two healthy quarterbacks: Austin Appleby and Aaron Banks. Sure enough, Appleby gets dinged up and Banks has to play a series. Now it’s third-and-5 and he has to pass, and Darrell Hazell’s staff dials up a 4-yard route. Banks completes it, but it’s short of the first down. Darrell Hazell was fired for a very good reason.
Since then the industrial engineering major hasn’t played, but he has still been active. This spring he was elected student body President:
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.”
We may not get to see him play this fall, but the student body has an excellent young man representing them as President.