Honoring "The Galloping Ghost" for Homecoming, Illinois played a spirited four quarters of football.
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Photos from Illinois football signing day on Feb. 1, 2012. (Mark Jones and Derek Neal)
Tim Banks is in his third season as Illinois' defensive coordinator and also works with the Illini secondary. He was hired in January 2012 as part of Tim Beckman's first staff at Illinois.
Three players from the 2012 Illini defense were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, with Akeem Spence going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round, Terry Hawthorne being picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round and Michael Buchanan being selected by the New England Patriots in the seventh round.
Banks has spent the past six seasons as a defensive coordinator, two at Cincinnati as a co-defensive coordinator and the previous three at Central Michigan.
Under his guidance, the Bearcats improved 33 spots from 2010 to 2011 in the rushing defense national statistical rankings, from No. 39 to No. 6, and moved up 21 spots in total defense, from No. 63 to No. 42. Cincinnati led the nation in tackles for loss in 2011 after ranking No. 38 the year before and also ranked No. 2 nationally in sacks in 2011, up from No. 38 in 2010. UC improved 48 spots in scoring defense from No. 68 in 2010 to No. 20 in 2011 and jumped 110 spots in turnover margin from No. 119 in 2010 to No. 9 in 2011, largely as a result of forcing 33 turnovers in 2011 compared to 14 in 2010.
Cincinnati also improved 62 spots in pass efficiency defense from 2010 to 2011, moving from No. 106 to No. 44. After finishing 4-8 in 2010, the Bearcats rebounded to post a 10-3 record in 2011, including a win over Vanderbilt in the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Banks' 2009 Central Michigan defense led the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense (18.9), ranked second in rushing defense (122.8), third in pass efficiency defense (117.4), and fourth in total defense (344.2) as the team went 12-2 overall and 8-0 in the MAC.
The Chippewas led the MAC in rush defense in both 2007 and 2008, and the 2008 defensive unit led the conference in sacks with 35.
Four players earned first-team all-MAC honors during Banks' tenure: linebackers Red Keith and Ike Brown in 2007 and linebacker Nick Bellore and defensive end Frank Zombo in both 2008 and 2009.
CMU generated five turnovers in a game three times during a two-season span, including a seven-turnover effort against Army in 2007. Cornerback Josh Gordy tied a school record with three interceptions in that game against the Cadets.
Following the 2007 season, Banks was invited to participate in the NCAA Expert Coaches Academy. Prior to CMU, Banks spent four seasons at the University of Maryland (2003-06) before returning to his alma mater. He coached the Terrapins' secondary in 2006 after spending his first three seasons with the inside linebackers.
Under his guidance, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection (2004-05), ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2005) and a Bednarik Award finalist (2005).
Jackson (Cleveland Browns) is one of three players Banks coached at Maryland who played in the NFL. The others are linebacker David Holloway (Arizona Cardinals) and cornerback Josh Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).
Prior to Maryland, Banks spent two seasons as an assistant at the University of Memphis (2001-02) and two years at Bowling Green (1999-00). At Memphis, the Tigers ranked ninth in Division I-A in pass defense in 2002 - his only season working with the cornerbacks.
Banks was a four-year letterman and two-time All-MAC second-team selection (1993-94) at Central Michigan. Banks was a co-captain for the Chippewas' 1994 MAC championship team and led the 1993 team in tackles with 105. He graduated from Central Michigan in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in industrial management.
Updated July 2014