Brian Banks works out for the Seattle Seahawks, in Renton, Wash., Thursday, June 7, 2012. Cleared of rape and kidnapping charges just two weeks ago, Banks, once a high school star in Long Beach, Calif., gets to pursue his NFL dream. (AP Photo/Seattle Seahawks, Corky Trewin)
Brian Banks, who was wrongfully imprisoned for five years, is expected to sign with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League on Thursday.
Banks, 26, was a football sensation at his high school before he was arrested for a crime he did not commit at age 16. Before the charges, Banks was a star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and was attracting interest from college football powerhouses. He verbally agreed to a full scholarship at USC.
Before he got a chance at pro football, a teenage girl he had known since childhood claimed he had raped her. He was arrested and, on advice of counsel, pleaded no contest to rape and an enhancement of kidnapping in order to avoid a possible life sentence if tried by a jury.
Banks watched from a prison cell as his teammates and classmates moved on from high school.
His dreams of playing football were dashed until the California Innocence Project, based in San Diego, took up his case to help him prove his innocence.
Banks was cleared of the charge on May 24.
Since his release, he has appeared on multiple talk shows and tried out for NFL teams. He will be speaking on Friday to the public about his new role in Las Vegas.
“This will be a vessel for me to gain experience while still pursuing the NFL and preparing myself for a possible mid-season pick up, or for next season,” Banks said on his Facebook page. “I’m excited to be a part of the team!”