The ballots have been cast, and tonight we find out who is the best college football player in Mississippi.
The Conerly Trophy will be presented at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at 7 p.m. MSU’s nominee is senior cornerback Johnthan Banks, and he’s one of the leading candidates to win the award. Honestly, it likely will come down to Banks and Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace. So I thought we’d try to compare the two résumés.
Both guys played in 12 games. Banks recorded 59 tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, four interceptions and seven pass break-ups. He also recorded a forced fumble and fumble recovery – on the same play against Tennessee – and was credited with a quarterback hurry. In SEC play, Banks had 42 tackles, 1.0 TFL, two interceptions and three PBUs.
Wallace completed 63.4% of his passes (213 of 336) for 2,843 yards, 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. In SEC games, he completed 63.2% (158 of 250) for 2,126 yards, 12 TDs and 11 INTs. Kid can run the ball, too, gaining 363 yards and eight TDs on the season; in SEC play, he’s got 184 and six scores. The big blemish on Wallace’s sheet is all those picks, which came in bunches and mostly came against the better SEC teams Ole Miss played.
The Egg Bowl should also be taken into account, although to what degree is anyone’s guess. Wallace clearly had the better game, completing 15 of 22 passes (68.2%) for 294 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions (both in the first half). He also rushed for 40 yards, and the performance was a microcosm of Wallace’s season. Sure, he’s had his issues, but on the whole he’s overcome them to lead the Ole Miss offense to a better place this season.
Banks had a tough Egg Bowl. He had three tackles and a PBU, but he got burned a couple of times. Ole Miss had six passing plays of 20-plus yards, and State couldn’t do anything with receiver Donte Moncrief (173 yards, three TDs). Again, it was just one game, and this award is about the larger body of work.
Who ya got?