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Jeremy Banks rejoins Vols following near year-long suspension

KNOXVILLE, TN – AUGUST 17, 2020 – Linebacker Jeremy Banks #33 of the Tennessee Volunteers during 2020 Fall Camp practice on Haslam Field in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee linebacker Jeremy Banks has rejoined the Vols following a near year-long suspension, Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced following practice on Monday evening.

“Jeremy Banks practiced with us today,” Pruitt said. “Jeremy (Banks) has done a fantastic job over the last nine months. He’s really been an inspiration to me.

“We removed him from the football team and he didn’t want to leave. He said, ‘Coach, I came to Tennessee to get a degree. I’ve embarrassed myself and my family. And the only way I can get that back is staying here and that’s something I would like to do.’ And we put a plan in place and he’s followed everything that we’ve asked him to do. I’m proud of him, where he’s at. Making A’s and B’s. Really getting involved in the community. We’re excited that he’s back and looking forward to him getting a second chance.”

Pruitt and the University of Tennessee announced Oct. 4 of last year that Banks had been kicked off of Tennessee’s football team.

“I have made the decision to remove Jeremy Banks from our football program,” Pruitt said via a statement at the time. “While I will continue to support Jeremy in the next steps in his life, information I recently received made it clear that this decision is in the best interest of the football program and the university.”

Banks had been arrested a month prior to his dismissal. During a traffic stop, police found a warrant out for his arrest stemming from his failure to attend a court hearing from a previous traffic citation. During the arrest, body cam footage captured Banks both being civil and also harassing the officers on hand. During the arrest, Banks said to one of the officers present that “Where I’m from (west Tennessee), we shoot cops.”

Banks remained enrolled in classes following his departure from the program, working to repair his image in the class room, spiritually and within the Knoxville community.

“I can tell you this: Jeremy has worked tirelessly to put himself in position to be back on our football team,” Pruitt said. “There have been a lot of people in the surrounding area in Knoxville that have contributed in it. Jeremy has learned a valuable lesson. He gets an opportunity to play football again and continue his degree.”

On Nov. 4, Banks posted two tweets to his personal Twitter account. The first one was a picture of himself with three police officers with the caption, “That night I had forgot to pray moments before, it was counted for though” along with “for the people” in all caps included with a black emoji heart and the hashtag #ThanksGod. He followed up with another tweet saying, “I’m truly sorry for my mistake and really appreciate everyone that’s rocking with me” with the hashtag #GodChild.

Banks, who originally joined the Vols as a running back, has carried the ball 52 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns, adding a reception for 10 yards on offense. On defense, where he’s expected to play in 2020, Banks has tallied 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, two interceptions, and two passes defended.

“We are working him at money,” Pruitt said. “It is the position he moved to last year. He has got a lot of catching up to do. I am just excited that he has put himself in position to have an opportunity to do this. I am excited for the opportunity for him to further his education. I believe Jeremy will work really hard to be the best football he possibly can be.”

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