Brian Banks, a one-time high school football star who was recently exonerated in a California rape case in which he was falsely accused, is finally getting a chance to play professional football.
The 26-year-old Banks, a linebacker, is signing with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League, a move the team confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.
Banks served more than five years in prison following a conviction a decade ago on rape and kidnapping charges. The woman later recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name.
Banks and the Locomotives will announce the signing at a news conference Thursday.
“We’re very pleased to be able to welcome this young man to the UFL and give him an opportunity in football that was denied him years ago,” Locomotives coach Jim Fassel said in a statement.
Banks was trying to land a spot in the NFL and got his first tryout with the Seattle Seahawks. He also received tryouts with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, and eventually took part in Seattle’s minicamp in June. Banks was grateful to Seattle coach Pete Carroll for the opportunity to see where he stacked up against NFL players. Banks had verbally committed to playing for Carroll at USC before Banks’ arrest and conviction.