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SPRING FOOTBALL: Alcovy's Jalen Banks getting it done in the classroom and on the field
Jalen Banks
Alcovy rising senior had 10 tackles for losses and 5 1/2 quarterback sacks for the Tigers during the 2017 season. - photo by Gabriel Stovall

COVINGTON, Ga. — Alcovy senior Jalen Banks has carved out an impressive resume on the gridiron, and beyond.

On May 1, the day before Alcovy football began spring practice, Banks received not one, but two college offers to continue playing football at the next level. He picked up offers from Rhodes College and Allegheny College. 

On May 2,  Banks and the rest of the Tigers’ squad embarked on their first day of spring football practice, a day the team had eagerly been awaiting since their disappointing 3-7 season came to an end last year. 

But this day was a special one for Banks in another way. As spring football fervor reached a fevered pitch, Banks walked off the practice field early in order to prepare for his induction into the National Honor Society, a prestigious organization that recognizes academic achievement, leadership, character and community service. 

As great as he is at football —  Banks finished fourth in Region 3-AAAAAA in sacks last year while anchoring the Alcovy defense — he knows that school is about more than just football.  

Wrapping up his junior year of high school, Jalen boasts an impressive 3.7 GPA and scored a 1090 on the SAT. 

“He’s always been a conscientious student,” said Alcovy head football coach Chris Edgar.  “He’s cared about his grades since he was a freshman.” Coach Edgar also praised Jalen’s parents for “instilling that in him.” 

When asked how he could improve in the classroom during his senior season, Banks’ goals were equally lofty and simplistic. 

“Continue to get the highest grades I can,” he said. “Making sure I finish strong with all A’s, because I know that will do my GPA the best.” 

Banks plans to study computer science at whichever college is fortunate enough to land his football services. With that line of study, he wants to pursue a career in video game development. Banks claims to play a good bit of video games, and like a lot of other gamers, says his favorite game right now is the cooperative survival phenomenon Fortnite. 

Although Banks has a lot going on off the football field, he is hungry to continue his success on the field. Banks says going to offseason workouts every day, working on his pass rushing technique at Team 3 Sports in Conyers, and at-home exercises have helped greatly during the offseason to keep improving as a player. 

And although he already has two offers, he isn’t satisfied. 

“Going into the spring it feels good to get those offers,” Banks said. “Those offers are cool, but at the end of the day I still have a season to prepare for and we have the spring game coming up in two weeks. So even though I’m getting offers, my main focus has been getting better as an athlete.” 

Edgar says he can see the improvement, particularly starting around his sophomore season.

“He’s been a good football player all along,” Edgar said. “This last year-and-a-half or so he’s put the same dedication into the football part as he has into the academics, while keeping up the academics. Now he’s the total package.”

Banks said he wants that development to show up tangibly on the football field in a big way in 2018. 

“The goal still is to get better than I was last year and double or triple my sacks.”  he said.

Not only does Jalen expect great thing out of himself next year, he believes the Tigers may turn a few heads in the fall. 

“I think we are going to be way better than we were in the past,” he said. “I think the mindset has changed, people have started to click, the physicality has been up. Everything has been ramped up. I think we’re going to have a special year this year.” 

Alcovy will continue to develop for that run at a special year during the remainder of the spring session, culminating with its spring game against Woodland-Stockbridge on May 17.