This is part of The Sun’s position-by-position preview of the 2017 Cornell football team. For a preview of each position, click here.
Possibly the biggest relief for any football team is having a mature and talented quarterback consistently taking the snaps. Luckily for Cornell, the program has that guy in returning starter Dalton Banks.
Banks was named the starter last season as a sophomore, winning the position over two upperclassmen. Now, with a year of starting experience under his belt, head coach David Archer ’05 said he believes that Banks has the capability to push the team to the next level.
“He has a tremendous amount of moxie, a tremendous amount of football knowledge, and he plays fearless, absolutely fearless,” Archer said about his offensive leader. “He has the exact makeup of a quarterback that you want.”
Despite having no varsity experience his freshman year, Banks turned heads with his numbers last season. He led the Ivy League with 18 scores through the air, second in passing yards per game with 251.4, and third in points responsible for with 138. Banks was an All-Ivy League honorable mention at the conclusion of the season and was named Offensive Player of the Week after his performance against Yale on Homecoming.
An underrated quality for Banks is his running. While he only ran for 141 yards all last season, 87 of those came against Sacred Heart, and he added five touchdowns last season with his legs.
“He’s deceptive as a runner,” Archer said. “When I talk about him, or talk about recruiting a quarterback, I want a guy that can run enough that he can get you a first down — doesn’t necessarily have to get you a touchdown, but if it’s blocked up, he’s going to be able to get you a first down.”
However, Banks has one blemish on his resume: his turnovers. As a sophomore, he threw the second-most interceptions in the league. Archer attributed that inflated number to Banks’ inexperience.
“He [was] a sophomore last year, he thinks he can make every throw on the football field, and he can, but it doesn’t mean he has to in every situation,” Archer said. “He has that gunslinger mentality. Trust me, I’m taking the kid with the courage and the moxie — I’ll take his problem every single day at the quarterback position.”
But Archer is optimistic that the turnovers will go down based on what he has seen during the preseason.
“I’ve seen this training camp a maturity from him, a level of understanding to know when to make that big-ball throw and know when to go and ahead and take the check down and not force something that could create an interception,” Archer said. “If his interceptions go down, our offensive potential sky rockets.”
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