Miss. State's Banks receives Thorpe Award

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Johnthan Banks always appreciated that Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen offered an opportunity to a scrawny, 150-pound kid from a small town and a hard-to-find school. He certainly is making the most of it.

Banks was presented the Thorpe Award in Oklahoma City on Tuesday as college football's best defensive back. He finished last season with four interceptions, running his career total to 16 to tie the school record at Mississippi State.

Mullen says he wasn't sure where to put Banks when he first arrived on campus, and that offensive coaches were disappointed when he eventually ended up on defense. Banks started out at free safety and eventually grew into a premier cornerback.

Banks is the fourth straight Thorpe winner from the Southeastern Conference.

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