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City's Banks commits to play at Penn State


All-Metro wide receiver Dwight Banks of City last night orally committed to accept a full football scholarship to attend Penn State.

A two-time All-City selection who runs the 40 yards in 4.4 seconds, he cited academics and the Nittany Lions' high-profile football program as his reasons for turning down more than 30 other Division I-A schools.

Banks, who maintains a "B" average and has satisfied the NCAA's requirements for freshman eligibility, had narrowed his choices to Penn State, Maryland, Michigan State and Wake Forest.

At 8:45 last night, Banks said he informed Bill Kenney, assistant coach to Joe Paterno, that he had decided on Penn State.

It was the fourth time he had talked to Kenney, who is with Paterno and the Lions in Orlando, Fla., preparing for the Florida Citrus Bowl. Paterno has spoken several times by phone to Banks, who led City to two consecutive Maryland Scholastic Association crowns and a 29-2 record in three seasons.

"They originally offered it to me on Nov. 12, but I wanted to think about it," said Banks, who finished his career 92 receptions for 1,942 yards and 22 touchdowns.

"I really didn't want to go that far from home, and I liked the courses they had toward a business major."

City coach George Petrides was an assistant to Ron Chartrand in the early 1970s, when the last Knights player -- offensive tackle Craige Brown -- attended Penn State. Brown, Petrides said, enjoyed his experience with the Lions, including a Cotton Bowl appearance.

"I think it's an outstanding choice academically and for their great coaching," Petrides said. 'But there were a lot of schools from the Big Ten looking at Dwight, so I'm pretty sure he'd have ended up there."

Banks said he expects to sign a letter of intent "sometime after they [Lions] get back from their bowl game."

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