Latrell Bankston is the 2019 KJCCC Defensive Player of the Year

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Hutchinson Community College sophomore defensive end Latrell Bankston was named the 2019 Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday as the all-KJCCC teams were announced.

Bankston was one of 10 Blue Dragons to earn first-team honors and one of 23 total Hutchinson players to earn postseason notoriety.

The 2019 Blue Dragons finished the season 9-2 and ranked No. 3 in the final regular-season NJCAA National Rankings. The Blue Dragons play No. 18 Monroe College in the Salt City Bowl on December 7 at Gowans Stadium.

Bankston a 6-foot-1, 299-pound defensive tackle from Woodstock, Georgia, is the second-straight Blue Dragon to win the league's top defensive honor, joining Monty Montgomery, the 2018 winner. He is the fourth Blue Dragon to win the Defensive Player of the Year in the Rion Rhoades' era.

The 23 overall selected tied the 2012 and 2018 Blue Dragons for the most all-conference players since Rhoades took over in 2007. The 10 first-team selected were the most in the Rhoades' era and the most since 1998.


This season, Bankston has been the dominant player on a dominant Blue Dragon defense, which was No. 1 in the KJCCC in scoring defense (14.3 ppg), No. 1 in total defense (215.9 ypg), No. 1 in pass defense (170.5 ypg) and No. 2 in rush defense (86.4 ypg).

Bankston led the Jayhawk Conference and was No. 8 in the NJCAA with 10.5 quarterback sacks and was third in the NJCAA in tackles for loss with 21.5.

He was third on the Blue Dragons this season with 58 total tackles, including 21 solo stops. Bankston also had eight quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Bankston had a season-high 13 total tackles and four quarterback sacks in a narrow loss to Garden City. He had eight tackles and two sacks in a 34-27 win at No. 2 Iowa Western and seven tackles and two sacks in a victory over No. 2 Butler.

Bankston joins nine other Blue Dragons on the 2019 first team:
+ Quarterback Mark Wright (5-10, 186, Douglasville, GA) was a dual-threat for the Dragons this season. His 59.5 percent completion rate ranks fourth-best in single-season history. Wright completed 132 of 222 passes for 1,621 yards, ninth-best in team single-season history with the Salt City Bowl pending. He's thrown for 17 touchdowns, which ties for sixth in single-season history. Wright was also the Dragons' leading rusher with 570 yards on 114 carries with seven touchdowns.

+ Receiver Mitchell Tinsley (6'0, 183, Lees Summit, MO) was the Blue Dragons' leading receiver with 50 receptions for 534 yards and four touchdowns.

+ Offensive tackle Jazston Turnetine (6-6. 338, Ellenwood, GA) led a Blue Dragon offensive line that led the way for the Blue Dragons to average 44.8 points, 403.8 total yards & 233.3 rush yards.

+ Defensive end Kirmari Gainous (6-3, 255, Tallahassee, FL) was the Blue Dragons' fourth-leading tackler with 46 total tackles, including 16 solo stops. Gainous had 14 tackles for loss that accounted for 61 yards and seven quarterback sacks. Gainous also had two quarterback hurries, one pass broken up, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

+ Linebacker Gereme Spraggins (6-1, 229, Odenton, MD) was Hutchinson's second-leading tackler with 66 total stops, 32 were solo. Spraggins, who had an exceptional second half of the season, had 11 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

+ Linebacker Lavar Gardner (5-11, 193, Atlanta, GA) was the Blue Dragons' leading tackler with 72 total stops, including 31 solo tackles. Gardner had 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks, three passes broken up, three quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries.

+ Cornerback Ronald Williams (6-2, 188, Ferriday, LA) had a team-high three interceptions and nine passes broken up to lead a talented defensive secondary. Williams had 22 tackles with one tackles for loss.

+ Safety Jakorian Bennett (5-11, 193, Mobile, AL) was second on the team with 11 passes broken up. He also had two interceptions and 24 total tackles.

+ Return specialist Tiyon Evans (5-9, 225, Hartsville, AL) had not one, but two 95-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns to open a second half this season. Evans ranked ninth in the NJCAA and was second in the KJCCC at 27.2 yards per return on 16 attempts.

Six Blue Dragons earned second-team honors:
+ Fullback Rico Nix (6-5, 247, Sorrento, FL) didn't have a carry this season, but provided many key blocks to lead a Blue Dragon rushing attack that averaged 233.3 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry.

+ Receiver Karim Brown (6-1, 173, St. Augustine, FL) missed five games with injury, but still managed to catch 17 balls for 238 yards and four touchdowns.

+ Offensive lineman Dmarious Warren (6-2, 237, Kennett, MO) started all 11 games and helped the Blue Dragons post the third-best scoring offense in Blue Dragon history pending the Salt City Bowl. Hutchinson's 39 rushing touchdowns are tied for second most in team history.

+ Cornerback Justin Gardner (6-2, 190, Johns Creek, GA) racked up a team-high 14 passes broken up and had one interception this season. Gardner accounted for 23 total tackles.

+ Safety Isaiah Todd (6-1, 208, Decatur, GA) had one of Hutch's two interception returns for touchdown. He had two picks, three passes broken up, 26 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.

+ Return specialist Mitchell Tinsley (6-0, 183, Lees Summit, MO) averaged 15.3 yards per punt on 12 returns with two returns for touchdowns.

Seven other Blue Dragons earned honorable mention honors.

Tight end Stacey Marshall (6-6, 252, Montgomery, AL) was a solo blocker who caught five balls for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Offensive guard Stevie Young (6-4, 315, Fort Smith, AR) and center Conner Lierz (6-2, 300, Manhattan) were the third and fourth members of a strong offensive line that had the Dragons rank either No. 1 or 2 in all KJCCC rankings. Running back Jonathan White (5-10, 198, Quitman, GA) averaged 11.2 yards per carry with three touchdowns on his 13 carries for 145 yards. White also returned two blocked punts for touchdowns this season. Defensive tackle Rodney Matthews (6-2. 278, Bartlett, TN) had 29 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, four quarterback sacks and four QB hurries. Defensive End Nico Cooper (6-5, 224, Memphis, TN) had 23 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Kicker Sebastian Garcia didn't have the great year he had last year, but still connected on 45 of 50 extra points and three field goals.