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Josh Heupel comments on his hiring of Tim Banks as defensive coordinator

NCAA Football: Penn State Blue-White Game Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee has officially announced the hiring of defensive coordinator Tim Banks, getting us one step closer to rounding out Josh Heupel’s full initial staff in Knoxville. The hiring process was a long one, filled with several twists and turns. In the end, Heupel went back to Banks and upped the offer, getting one of his top choices in the boat.

Banks signed a three-year deal that will pay him $1.3 million in year one, $1.4 million in year two and $1.5 million in year three.

“Tim brings great energy, passion and experience to the Tennessee football family,” Heupel said. “His defenses are known for their aggressive style, as well as their multiple coverages and fronts.”

Banks arrives from Penn State, where he was serving as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach. He has coordinator experience at Illinois, Cincinnati and Central Michigan. He’s been a defensive assistant in the college football world since the 1990s. Banks has been at Penn State since 2016, where he’s helped produce ten NFL draft picks

“He’s coached in big games and has a proven track record of success on the field and in recruiting,” Heupel continued. “I know our student-athletes are going to enjoy playing for him. We are fortunate to have someone with Tim’s experience and caliber leading our defense.”

In Banks’ final season at Illinois, the Illini ranked 15th in pass defense and produced three NFL draft selections on their way to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Prior to that, Banks helped Cincinnati and Central Michigan to league championships. He has spent time as a linebackers and defensive backs coach prior to making the leap to coordinator.

His defense has been described as multiple, which is how every defense is described these days. His base has been described as a 4-2-5 look, with two tackles and two defensive ends. He’s also going to mix in 3-3-5 looks, per this preview from Dan Harralson.

Banks is credited with landing eight four-star prospects as a primary recruiter. However, all of his stops as a coach have come up north, outside of a two-year stint at Memphis. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner will help with some of those SEC recruiting ties, and perhaps the remainder of his staff will help as well.