May 16, 2007

Blue Bombers strengthen QB corps

Banks, Bohnet headed to Winnipeg for training camp

WINNIPEG ( wire) -– The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterbacking corps got a little deeper today with the signings of Brad Banks and Matt Bohnet.

As per team policy, details of deals were not disclosed.

“As has been proven time and again in this league, you can never have too much depth at the quarterback position,” said Blue Bombers general manager Brendan Taman. “The addition of an experienced CFLer like Brad Banks and an up-and-comer like Matt Bohnet will help ensure that we have sufficient depth at one of the most pivotal positions on any football team. Both Brad and Matt have the skills and athleticism to make significant contributions to this football club.”

Banks originally joined the Blue Bombers in 2006 after being selected in the second round (13th overall) in the Ottawa Player Dispersal Draft. He appeared in all 18 regular season games for Winnipeg last season, finishing the year completing 22-of-52 passes for 219 yards, one touchdowns and three interceptions. He also backed-up starting QB Kevin Glenn in last year’s East Semi-Final against the Toronto Argonauts.

A cousin of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Banks made his CFL debut in 2004 with the now-defunct Ottawa Renegades. He appeared in 12 games that season, including two starts, and completed 67 of 106 passes for 849 yards and seven touchdowns.

In 2005, Banks appeared in 11 games with the Renegades, completing five of 14 passes for 64 yards and one touchdown in limited action.

Banks had an outstanding collegiate career as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes. In 2002 he finished second in balloting for the Heisman Trophy after a tremendous senior season. That season he completed 170 of 294 passes for 2,573 yards and 26 TDs. He also rushed for 423 yards and five TDs on 81 carries.

Bohnet signed with the NFL’s Washington Redskins as a free agent in 2006 and attended the team’s mini-camps before being released.

Bohnet spent two seasons at Eastern Michigan (2004 and 2005) after transferring from the University of Iowa in 2002. In two seasons with the Eagles he completed 448 of 785 passes for 4,994 yards and 35 TDs. He also rushed 682 yards in those two seasons.

In 2004, Bohnet started all 11 of the Eagles’ games at quarterback, completing 228 of 434 passes for 2,807 yards and 21 TDs. He also rushed for 424 yards on 100 carries. Bohnet finished the season as the sixth-ranked QB in the nation in total offence (293.74 yards per game) and the third-ranked QB in the Mid-American Conference in total offence. His 3,231 total yards of offence ranked second best in school history, behind only Charlie Batch’s 3,390 yards in 1997.

Bohnet played in 10 of the Eagles’ 11 games in 2005, completing 220 of 351 passes for 2,187 yards and 14 TDs and was named team MVP. He added another 258 yards and three TDs along the ground on 77 rushes. He set an EMU single-game record for completions in a game (40) against Western Michigan on Nov. 5.

Interestingly, Bohnet’s younger brother Ken also played quarterback at Eastern Michigan during his brother’s tenure at the school.