The biggest question mark surrounding the Florida Gators football team heading into the 2019 season is the offensive line, which is replacing four starters. The group got a boost on Thursday when Dan Mullen announced the unit will get a boost from redshirt senior Noah Banks.
Banks transferred in to Florida after seasons at Murray State and Iowa Western. He appeared in 12 games last season with a start against Idaho. It was during the Gators’ bowl preparation when Banks suffered an epileptic episode during a practice and was shut down. Banks missed the rest of bowl prep and spring practice with his future in football doubtful.
“He and I sat down and I think he knew we were a hundred percent behind him and so went through all the spring, was real uncertain and then he came and he came back a hundred percent all in. It was him saying, I want to come back and play. Which was the mindset we needed to have,” Dan Mullen said of Banks. “And I think it got down to, coach, okay, I missed a bunch of time, I got to get my body back right ready to go play. And I said, well, one of the things that we did great job within the transition and making sure he was comfortable and say, hey, I’m back with the team, is he did individual workouts with Coach Savage, to get himself back in shape before he went back with the team. And to make sure as he was working out he was comfortable ready to go back.”
It’s a huge step for Banks, who is entering his final year of eligibility and an even bigger win for John Hevesy and the offensive line. The Gators are trying to replace four starters from a season ago with only center Nick Buchanan returning. Hevesy left spring practice feeling good about his starting five but it’s the SEC and you’re going to need more than five offensive linemen that you feel good about. Banks gives Hevesy and the Gators experience, leadership and versatility. He’s played both tackle and both guard spots in practice and gives Florida much needed depth.
“It is great for us to have him back,” Mullen said. “I know that one of the main reasons we recruited him is looking at our roster and knowing that you’re going to be in this situation he was going to be a critical part of the team and getting him healthy, being able to make sure that he’s healthy to contribute is huge for us.”