July 1, 2009

Safety Banks says he'll be ready

He's not quite 100 percent, but Georgia safety Quintin Banks said Wednesday he's about as close to complete health as he can get.

"I think I'm getting pretty close," Banks said during an interview in the team meeting room at the Butts-Mehre Building. "I had an MRI recently and there was no problem. My knee feels great, almost better than it ever was."

The Bulldogs are counting on a healthy Banks fortifying the safety position, which will be without Jon Knox who left the program back in June.

Reshad Jones is penciled in as the starter at strong safety with Bryan Evans at free, leaving Banks as the lone remaining safety with any relatively experience at either position.

Even so, it isn't exactly like Banks has seen a lot of recent playing time himself.

The former Houston County standout appeared in only one game for Georgia last fall after suffering a torn MCL during preseason workouts. He recovered enough to finally play against Tennessee, but promptly tweaked the knee again prior to Vanderbilt and missed the rest of the year.

As a redshirt freshman, Banks saw action in 12 games, collecting eight tackles in a backup role.

"I'm hoping for a big season," Banks said. "If I can just stay healthy that would be a great thing. It was difficult to maintain that (health) through last season, but this year I'm going to take it one game at a time and keep moving on."

Banks certainly is no stranger to getting hurt.

As a senior in high school, Banks was knocked out with a shoulder injury before missing a pair of games in 2007 after he hurt his knee against Troy on the final play.

"It hasn't been a horrible career," he said. "Things happen for a reason. It's all good."

Although Banks said he's close to getting back where he was to before the injury, he's not taking any chances, either.

"I'm doing what I can out there during the workouts, but I'm making sure I don't do anything to aggravate it because it is still a little bit sensitive to certain things," he said. "But I'm doing most everything. It's been a good summer so far."

Banks said he's been impressed with the play of Nick Williams, who has been moved back to safety, the position he originally played when he first signed with the Bulldogs.

He also said it appears true freshman Shawn Williams has been adjusting well, although there are lessons he still needs to learn.

"The most difficult thing for guys like him is just learning the system," Banks said. "Everybody at this level has the same speed, are as big as you and can run so the more you know, the better you're going to be."

Banks is just happy to be healthy enough to give Williams and other youngsters at the position like Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings and Makiri Pugh a hand.

Of course, he's got some understandably selfish reasons of his own.

"I'll just be excited to be cleared and hope to get out of this green jersey before too long," Banks said. "I have no doubt I'll be cleared. I'm just for that to happen and just go from there."

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