Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss LSU’s lone official visitor, Texas cornerback Marcus Banks, who gave a commitment to the Tigers over the weekend.
Marcus Banks pledges to LSU
Marcus Banks entered the weekend with a small hunch that he could wind up committing. By the time Sunday rolled around, he was certain.
Banks, a top-40 cornerback in the Class of 2019, pledged to LSU after a three-day official visit. The weekend was comprised of meetings with coach Ed Orgeron, defensive backs coach Corey Raymond and safeties coach Bill Busch, who was a major factor in Banks’ decision, and the laissez-faire approach from the staff brought clarity to the Texas cornerback.
“I had an idea that it would be between Alabama and LSU, and that those would be my top two,” Banks told SEC Country on Sunday. “I didn’t plan on committing, but I had an idea that I might. I was highly interested in LSU and the visit made it way better. I love the coaches and how Coach O puts no pressure on me at all.
“We didn’t talk about football — mainly about grooming me to be a better man and talking family and being comfortable up there. Like I said, there was no pressure, just a family feeling and my relationship with Coach Raymond getting stronger every time I come up there.”
Banks picked the Tigers over Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama and Auburn, who were also finalists for the 3-star prospect.
Most pegged the in-state schools as the favorites for the Dekaney (Texas) High School product, but Banks was largely leaning toward his out-of-state options of late. He named LSU as his leader after a junior day visit in March and indicated Alabama was also in the mix heading into a scheduled official visit on June 15.
“I was high on Texas A&M and Texas, but LSU and Alabama, I trusted the coaches there,” Banks explained. “I trust Coach [Nick] Saban and Coach [Karl] Scott, and Alabama speaks for itself, but what it came down to was a feeling. It felt right to do this in the city, in Baton Rouge. I love the city and I prefer Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa, and that played a part in it. I got around the players and felt comfortable, and it came down to that.”
Banks declared his recruiting process over with. He no longer will make his way to Alabama next weekend.
Orgeron sold him on LSU’s program with a family-first approach over the weekend, a sentiment echoed by the current players. Sandwich that with Raymond’s track record of producing NFL defensive backs and Busch’s consistent approach recruiting both him and his mother, Leah Banks-Meeks.
“The conversation with Coach O was about how he’d take care of me and any time I need to talk to him, he’d be there,” Banks recalled. “He has an open-door policy and players say he’s always there. The family conversation made me feel at home.
“Coach Raymond talked to me about different techniques and drills and different schemes. There was football talk, but he also mentioned that [LSU] is like a brotherhood. I trust Coach Raymond and what he’s doing with the program and to get me to the next level.
“Coach Busch is the funny one, the jokester, and I was joking around with him a lot.”
Why Sunday was the right time to commit
Banks, a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back with sub 4.5 speed, named the Tigers as his leading school in the spring. A junior day visit to Baton Rouge opened his eyes to the program, which was compounded by a quiet consistency from Busch, his lead recruiter.
LSU’s first-year safeties coach made his way to Dekaney during the spring evaluation period and has been in daily contact with both the cornerback and his mother ever since. That consistency paid off with Sunday’s commitment.
“Ever since I visited in March, they have been consistently recruiting me,” Banks said. “Coach Busch texts me and my mom every morning and he has probably been the most consistent coach for me. They went to see me in the spring and it opened up my eyes because they said my film matched me in-person and that’s not the case with too many recruits.
“That was attractive for me and they have been more consistent than everyone without pushing me too hard. There was no pressure to commit; they kept it cool, knowing how to get me there and the small stuff, which played a big part.”
Originally, Banks wanted to save his commitment for Nike’s The Opening Finals in July in Dallas.
He couldn’t wait that long.
Banks had toyed with the notion of committing to LSU in March, but opted to hold off until he could further evaluate each of his top schools. The official visit helped push him over the edge this weekend.
“I had a good feeling about it and everything lined up in place,” Banks said. “I was going to pull the trigger on my commitment [in the spring], but I played it slow to make sure I made the right choice. I anticipated going to LSU earlier, but I said, ‘Let me see for sure.’ [Sunday], I knew for sure it was going to be my school.”
Marcus Banks is ‘going back home’
Banks resides in Houston, but his mother is originally from Lafayette. He has family scattered in and around Baton Rouge and the Acadiana region of the state.
Despite being labeled as a Texas prospect, Banks doesn’t view his decision to commit to LSU as an out-of-state move. Rather, a homecoming of sorts.
“It means a lot because I have family in Baton Rouge and Lafayette and a whole bunch of ties to the state,” Banks explained. “There’s nothing like spending time out there. It’s so natural. It’s not going out of state; it’s going back home. I have family down there, so it’s not out of state or uncomfortable going outside of Texas. It’s a good transition.”
The 3-star cornerback is working to enroll early and expects to be at LSU full-time in January. By then, he has high hopes for the team’s 2019 class.
Banks is the second defensive back to join the Tigers’ 2019 recruiting class, joining 4-star Tennessee prospect Maurice Hampton. Five-star Baton Rouge corner Derek Stingley Jr. is set to announce his decision on June 20 and 4-star New Orleans corner Devin Bush should follow suit in August.
LSU’s newest verbal pledge sees the writing on the wall.
“It’s going to blow up,” Banks said of the Tigers’ haul. “I’m going to get on a couple of guys to come along with me. The coaches said once I commit, other people are going to want to join in. We’re going to have a top-five class once the dust settles. I’ll hop on some guys and make the class come up in the rankings.”
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.