Salpulpa High School in Oklahoma: Where the Roy Hanks legend began.
Today's memorable Columbia Lions' defensive back of the past makes the word "memorable" an understatement. When Roy Hanks '98 was on the field, or on campus, you remembered him. He made you remember him.
Hanks came to Columbia in 1994 from a small town outside of Tulsa and immediately made an impact as a freshman on a Lions team that earned the first winning season at Columbia in 23 years.
By the time he was done, head coach Ray Tellier would call Hanks the best defensive back he'd ever coached at CU.
During that freshman campaign, Hanks contributed in the secondary and as a kickoff return man. He made an interception to end the Elis final drive in the 30-9 whipping of Yale at the Bowl. A few weeks later, he recovered a fumble in a win over Cornell that clinched the winning season.
He continued to develop as a sophomore, enjoying many memorable games including a starring role in the 24-14 win over Penn. That win ended the Quakers' best-in-the-nation 24-game winning streak at the time. Hanks had a 39-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave the Lions the lead to stay in that game. Later, he knocked down a desperation Penn pass, and that iced the game.
A few weeks earlier at Harvard, his key punt return for a TD helped the Lions beat Harvard for the first Lion win over the Crimson since 1978.
In the magical 8-2, 1996 season, Hanks made First Team All-Ivy. It started on the right foot for Hanks as he intercepted a Harvard pass in OT to seal the victory on opening day.
He would repeat that feat the following year in his senior season, despite the Lion's disappointing 3-7 campaign.
But what made Hanks truly memorable was his outgoing personality. On the field, he was a big-time trash talker, but he just about always put his money where his mouth was.
He was outspoken in classes and on campus, too.
I'm happy to announce that the New York Daily News, which did a great job covering the Lions during the happy days of the mid-1990s, has finally made its archives available online. So you can read this great profile of Hanks written in 1997 to get an idea of what a great personality he was.
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