Taylor Banks is ready to take over the mantle as the fastest sprinter in South Florida.
The Miramar (FL) High School senior has seen and competed against the likes of Anthony Schwartz, Tyrese Cooper and former teammate Jamal Walton, and he has watched as each athlete has made their marks on the record books.
But Banks, who's the fastest returning sprinter in the country at 100 meters and won the prestigious Brooks PR 100m this past spring, isn't satisfied with being the best in his region or even the state.
The recent Florida State University signee wants to be the best in the nation and leave his mark as one of the best all-time.
"Fans can expect a 9.9 this season and a lot of jaw dropping performances," Banks said.
That's a bold statement from Banks, who likes to keep to himself for the most part. As a junior, he won district and regional titles in the 100 meters dash and was the runner-up at 200 meters. He finished third in 4A, the state's largest classification in both events, but it was the postseason where he shined.
The speedster trailed off of Anthony Schwartz at the Great Southwest Classic--the Auburn recruit ran the fourth fastest wind-legal time for a prep in 10.09--with a personal best mark of 10.26 and followed that up with a win at Brooks PR after finishing fifth in 2017.
While Schwartz utilized New Balance Nationals Indoor to help springboard his outdoor track and field season in 2018, Banks' coach, Chris McComb, said he isn't sure the sprinter will compete indoors just yet. The two-sport athlete in football and track and field injured his ankle during a game in September and is still in recovery mode. McComb admits the setback could hinder any first-time indoor plans.
"He hasn't started sprinting yet," McComb said. "We are just gradually getting back into running. It's not a foregone conclusion that he won't do indoors, but right now it's still up in the air. He was invited to the Mondo Elite meet in January in North Carolina, but he won't be attending that."
If anything, McComb did admit that New Balance Nationals Indoor wasn't out of the question.
"We are still planning on doing that one," McComb said. "That's the plan."
Either way, Banks' dedication to strength training will be one key variable in preparing him for the road ahead. The senior's studiousness has been one key characteristic that's driven him forward.
"Over the last four years Taylor has grown and understood what it takes to be an elite runner by studying his craft," McComb said. "His approach from the time he was a freshman was more so on the 100. Now, he wants to be a complete sprinter in the 100 and 200."
Banks hard work has paid off. His 200m time of 21.19 seconds from the AAU National Club Championships is the 14th best mark heading into this spring. College offers poured in from across the country, including UCLA, Texas A&M, Houston, and FSU.
Banks admits the recruiting process was kind of stressful, with schools trying to lure the nation's top prospect in and to take official visits.
"At UCLA, I loved the city of Los Angeles, very nice mother, and the plan the new coaches had for the athletes there," he explained. "At Texas A&M, I loved the facilities and the history of winning national championships. At Houston, I loved the plan Coach Lewis had for me and his athletes and how they've come along way."
Ultimately, he decided to stay in state and run for the Seminoles. The combination of FSU's projected plan for the sprinter, team culture, and history of success for sprinters was the biggest driver of his decision - Coach Ricky Argro has helped build athletes like Marvin Bracy, Levonte Whitfield, and Andre Ewers.
"I felt like Florida state was a great fit for me," Banks noted. "What sold me there was the tremendous talent they had on the team. "I know training with those guys is going to help me get better and help me get to the next level."
Florida State's incoming class is loaded. It also includes Tshenolo Lemao of South Africa, transfer Terrance Laird (Penn St/Hinds CC) and fellow South Florida athlete Cameron Leiba of Dillard, the 4A 200m champion.
"There is something special happening in Tallahassee with the type of talent Coach Argro and company are bringing in," Banks added. Expect a lot of big things on the sprint side at Florida State these next few years."
Coach McComb describes Banks as a powerful runner who is excellent out of the blocks and says both he could to the Seminoles right away.
"Taylor holds the keys to the future and with his knowledge and understanding of the game he can be on the U.S. Team and compete at Worlds and the Olympics."