Jeremy Pruitt announces dismissal of Tennessee LB Jeremy Banks
Tennessee has dismissed LB Jeremy Banks. Jeremy Pruitt made the announcement on Friday.
“I have made the decision to remove Jeremy Banks from our football program,” Pruitt said in a statement released to the media. “While I will continue to support Jeremy in the next steps in his life, the information I recently received made it clear that this decision is in the best interest of the football program and the university.”
Banks’ September arrest has been a big story this week after police released a video of their interaction with Banks and a phone call made to Pruitt. In the video, Banks’ Banks’ interactions ranged from complimentary to hostile and challenging. At one point, he told the officers that he had, “never met no police officers as nice as y’all,” but he also said he should have “tested their speed” to avoid arrest and told a woman on a ride-along, “Ma’am, I don’t think you want to be an intern, because where I’m from, we shoot at cops. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee.”
Banks apologized after the video was released.
“I want to sincerely apologize to my family, the University of Tennessee and the law enforcement community,” Banks said in a statement released Tuesday by UT. “I deeply regret my language and attitude in the video. I have great respect for our police men and women, and I am embarrassed by my actions that night. That’s not who I am. I promise to be a better representative for the University of Tennessee moving forward.”
Pruitt was on the receiving end of some harsh criticism for his reaction to Banks’ arrest. The early Sunday morning call wasn’t the best look for the second-year head coach. Pruitt appeared to question the necessity of the arrest and imply that football players get special treatment from police at other programs where he has worked at (Alabama, Florida State, Georgia).
Pruitt took questions about the video during the SEC’s weekly media teleconference on Wednesday:
On his phone call comments: You know, when you get a phone call at 3:30 in the morning you are always going to take it. To be honest, when I got the phone call, I had no idea who I was talking to for the first two minutes. By the time I got it figured out, obviously some confusion because it was late but I appreciate the officer talking to me and doing his job.
On saying he’s never had something happen like this – was he saying police would have cut players a break at other places and that’s his expectation? No, absolutely not. There’s no place I’ve ever worked where anyone has cut anyone a break. The point was the warrant was issued for five weeks or four weeks there and I wasn’t aware of it. That’s something we have got to do a better job of, focusing on our players so you don’t have a speeding ticket or anything that turns into something like this. We have got to do a better job as a staff, we have got to have a relationship to get it figured out.
Had he seen the video before? As I said before, Jeremy’s comments and behavior were unacceptable, we’ve addressed it and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Banks played running back and linebacker for the Volunteers. The class of 2018 prospect was a 3-star running back out of Cordova, Tennessee recruited by former position coach Robert Gillespie.
As a sophomore this season, Banks recorded two interceptions in the Tennessee win over UT Chattanooga. As a freshman, Banks rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries in 11 games.