Offensive lineman Kelvin Banks returned from his official visit to Texas A&M Sunday, completing his official visit circuit. In the time since returning, he has announced a commitment date of July 24.
Ducks Digest caught up with him before he made that decision for the latest in his recruitment.
Banks' five official visits saw him start in Baton Rouge with LSU, go way out west to Eugene to see Oregon, and then return closer to home to see Oklahoma State.
From there he wrapped up his final two trips in Austin and College Station with each of the Texas schools. Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies got the last visit, and Ducks Digest caught up with Banks following the trip to get the latest in his recruitment.
The reviews from Banks were positive, and I asked him what stood out the most.
"The people there," he said. "I know the facilities are gonna be there always. For me the biggest part of recruiting is me being around people I wanna be around for four years. Being able to pick up and call people after my college career."
"They have a lot of people behind the program, a lot of people committed there. They’ll have a good stepping stone with this class. The team they already have is great."
The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder spent time with the entire staff including Offensive Line Coach Josh Henson.
Kelvin Banks Texas A&M Official Visit
"They have a great coaching staff. This past season was a good season. I can tell they’re heading in the direction of the playoffs."
He spent a lot of time with Layden Robinson, a sophomore offensive lineman for the Aggies, and said he meshed well with the players.
"I could see myself playing with them. They were pretty cool. I had a good time with Layden."
The Texas Longhorns are also a major player in his recruitment and he spoke about his official visit in Austin.
"I had a great time. Just like the other schools it's a place where you can build yourself as a person--good contact with people, background. You know someone can get you a job after graduation."
Similar to Oregon and Texas A&M, Banks is getting the full staff treatment from Texas and has multiple coaches leading the way.
"Couple guys. Coach Sark communicates with me one-on-one, texts me all the time. Coach (Kyle) Flood and Coach (Jeff) Banks on a daily basis."
Sarkisian's "All gas no brakes" mantra has Banks' attention.
"The culture is changing right now," he said of Texas. "It’s different form the past coach that was there. Sark and Flood are gonna turn Texas around. They could be a good contender in the national championship run."
Banks also took a trip to Stillwater to check out Oklahoma State, a familiar sight seeing that he was committed to the Cowboys until July of last year.
"That's a great place. It fits my style of living kind of," he said. "It's a low down type place, not many people there. You can ride horses, go hunting and fishing. People there are amazing as well."
The other SEC team in contention for Banks is the 2019 national champion LSU Tigers. LSU parted ways with former offensive line coach James Cregg earlier this spring, but it doesn't look like it'll have any negative impact in the Tigers' recruitment of Banks.
"I knew Coach (Brad) Davis from Arkansas. Coach (James) Cregg was a great coach--I liked him a lot. It wasn’t a downfall in their recruitment for that."
"There’s not really much you can say about LSU--it's LSU. Coach O and the whole recruiting staff, it's a great place."
Oregon Football Recruiting Visitor List: Jan. 27-29
The Ducks host one more recruiting weekend before the February dead period.
Where 2023 Oregon Football Commits Stand in Final 247Sports Rankings
The Ducks have the top class in the Pac-12 ahead of the February signing day.
And I wrapped things up by asking about Oregon, a visit Banks gushed over a few weeks back. In the time since, the Ducks haven't let up in their communication.
"Everyday. (They're) Texting me or calling me. It's good to see that they care and that they want me to be a part of their program."
Mario Cristobal and his staff have made Banks a priority, and he wasn't able to name just one coach he feels closest with.
"Really everybody. When I went down there Coach Joe (Salave'a)--he treated me just like I was one of his D-line crew. Coach Mirabal and Coach Cristobal were great. It was real good when I went down there, I had a blast, everyone on that staff is wonderful, just nice."
So what's the takeaway from all this?
Banks released a top eight back in March that consisted of LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Following the conclusion of his official visits, I think it's looking like a three team race between Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M. It's gonna be a heck of a battle to watch unfold, but I think the Ducks are right there.
From the sound of it, Banks could be nearing a decision.
"I’ll probably make a top three, but that depends on how everything unfolds. I’ll either make a top three or make a decision."
"I feel like I want to wait things out. It should be some time at the end of July or towards getting into the season."
A small additional note. I've been fascinated by all the unique photoshoots I've seen at schools across the country, so I asked Banks what his favorite photoshoot was.
"Favorite one was probably Oregon, Texas A&M, and Texas."
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