The story of now exonerated high school super-prospect Brian Banks is the stuff movies are made of. Banks was a high school star linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School where he was heavily recruited by USC at the height of the college football program's power under Pete Carroll. Banks had verbally committed to play for USC before he was wrongfully accused and convicted of rape and kidnapping. His public defender advised Banks to plead no contest to the charges of rape and kidnapping because his attorney told him, "You go into that courtroom in front of a jury. You're a big black teenager, they're going to automatically assume you as guilty." If Banks had fought and lost in court he faced up to 25 years imprisonment as a maximum sentence. Based on his attorney's advice Banks accepted a plea bargain agreement that placed him in prison for 62 months before he was released on probation. His dreams of playing in the NFL stolen from him due to bad advice from his attorney and the false accusations of a young girl. But with his dreams shaken, Brian Banks showed an incredible perseverance and pursued the only thing he had left, to clear his name and to shake the title of sex offender.
Once released on probation Banks was contacted by Wanetta Gibson, his accuser, on Facebook who requested to meet with him to try to put the past behind them. Banks accepted the invitation and secretly wore a recording device to capture their conversation. In the recorded conversation Banks' accuser admitted to lying in court and told him that she wanted to help him clear his name, but due to the $750,000 settlement that the Long Beach school district paid to her family in a lawsuit following his conviction Gibson was unsure of how she could help without facing charges for lying in court or having to pay back the money.
With the help of his new attorneys, and the California Western School of Law, Banks was able file the recording as evidence and May 24th a judge exonerated Brian of all of the charges releasing him as a free man ending a ten year nightmare. With his release Brian and his attorneys have the media spotlight and all that he has requested is a chance to try out for NFL teams to try to live out his dreams. He has already been contacted for tryout June 7th with the Seattle Seahawks, for a chance to finally unite with Pete Carroll. Mike Shanahan contacted him and has extended an offer for Banks to try out with the Redskins, and he will also get a chance to try out with the Chiefs if he doesn't land a spot on one of the other squads first.
Banks has been training with Gavin Macmillan, who trains NFL players and is working with Banks for free. Banks reports that he can dead-lift 545 pounds and run a 4.6-second 40-yard dash. Banks measures in at 6-1 245 pounds, his physical gifts and his mental toughness from making it through this ordeal make him something special and his story is something that inspires no matter where he ends up in some teams locker room or in another teams office.
That office could be in Arizona. According to USA Today, Derrick Hall, the Arizona Diamondbacks CEO, contacted Banks last week to offer him a job with the team if he doesn't end up finding a spot in the NFL. Hall was moved by Banks' story and said in the article "Someone like that ... he deserves a break. He got one, and he deserves a career. I'm so happy for him that he at least had the truth revealed and that he can start over. If we can be a part of that and it makes sense for him and for us, I'd be glad to offer that to him" "He has to chase his (NFL) dreams first. If he comes back to me and says, "That didn't work out, are you still willing to have me come out?' Absolutely, we are."
As of the writing of this article the Cardinals have not contacted Banks for a try out, but no matter where Banks ends up on the field or in an office, I'll be rooting for him.