While it may seem like forever ago, it wasn’t that long ago Jeremy Banks was making big plays for Tennessee’s defense.

Can you name the last Tennessee player to intercept two passes in a single game? Believe it or not, that honor goes to Banks as he was the first Volunteer defender to accomplish that feat since the 1981 season when the sophomore did just that against Chattanooga in 2019.

Of course, that was the highlight of his sophomore season as Banks was later dismissed by head coach Jeremy Pruitt during the season.

For many players, that would have been the end of their story but the Tennessee native worked hard to earn his way back on to the roster in Knoxville and now he’s in line to once again play a big role in the team’s defense this fall.

“Jeremy’s been great, he continues to do all the right things and give his best effort every day and that’s all we ask from him,” Brian Niedermeyer said of Banks when asked about the linebacker during his recent media availability. “For us, it’s how do we put him in a good position to be successful.”

Considering Banks missed most of last season and was not a member of the team during the spring, just how far back is the linebacker in terms of the other linebackers Niedermeyer had to work with in camp?

Tennessee’s inside linebackers coach doesn’t believe Banks is behind at all.

“Jeremy’s an instinctive guy and he’s a smart guy. So, I wouldn’t say we were behind the eight ball in terms of anything schematically,” Niedermeyer continued. “I think he’s just like the rest of the guys, just trying to get better each day and maximize his potential and ability on the field at all times.”

One player that’s poised to help Banks in that goal is Henry To’o To’o. Despite only being a true sophomore, To’o To’o has already stepped up and established himself as one of the leaders of the Tennessee defense.

“Henry is a really good leader,” Niedermeyer added. “I think when he came out of high school, he led by example. I think he’s really embraced the role of bringing other guys along, as well.”

That type of leadership could be huge for a player like Banks, not just on the field but off it, as the talented linebacker looks to continue to make the most of his second chance on Rocky Top.

Photo credit: Tennessee Athletic Communications