Larry Vaught interviews Zach West

Rumors have circulated recently regarding Kentucky players who have been rumored to be changing their commitments to other schools. Kentucky Sports Report's Larry Vaught spoke with Lexington Christian's Zach West and asked him about his Kentucky commitment.

I talked with offensive tackle Zach West of Lexington Christian after practice today in Williamsburg for Saturday's Border Bowl against Tennessee.

Question: Did the way UK finished the season losing to Tennessee and then losing to Pittsburgh in the Compass Bowl have any impact on your commitment?

West: "No sir. Absolutely not. I am really solid with my commitment. In the last game of the season, it's hard for any team to lose its starting quarterback like that (when UK suspended Mike Hartline). I think that did play a slight role in it and maybe we didn't come out focused. Every team has a bad game."

Question: Why do you still feel optimistic about Kentucky football?

West: "It is my home state and my home town, so it means a lot to me to play for the blue. I really like (line) coach (Mike) Summers and I just know I am going to have a great time there with the buddies I already have over there."

Question: Do you factor in how hard it is to win in the Southeastern Conference when you look at the UK program?

West: "It is really hard to win. I know that. In my opinions, rankings don't matter. This year we beat a very good South Carolina and Vanderbilt, but Ole Miss beat us. That's why rankings don't matter in the SEC in my opinion. Everybody is good. And Auburn kicked a field goal at the end to win and then won the national championship. Every game you have to prepare for."

Question: Do you have a chance to play as a freshman or is that an unrealistic expectation for a true freshman offensive lineman?

West: "I just want to come in and give it the best I have. I have heard rumors I am going to be a center next year. I've also heard rumors that I am going to redshirt, so I just want to do the best I can. If I do move to center, that would be exciting to play a new position. I have played left tackle for a long time and it would be fun."

Question: Have you had a lot of contact with coach Summers?

West: "I talk to him pretty often. I haven't lately because of the dead period and I have been here for the bowl game. I do talk to him all I can."

Question: What do you like about Coach Summers?

West: "I really like the Christian man that he is. That had a big impact on me. I like how he treats his players and is always really close to them and how he coaches them. Of all the colleges I went to visit, he was my favorite coach. He would be the person I want to develop me the most. He is such a positive person and the way he coaches really impressed me."

Question: Did fans, family or something else convince you to stay home and play for Kentucky?

West: "I didn't really think I wanted to stay at home. At first, I thought I had been here a long time and I wanted to get away. Longer and longer it went, the more I realized how much family and friends meant to me."

Question: Do you talk to other recruits or players being recruited by UK?

West: "I talk to Nick Martin for a little while until he de-committed and he told me about that. I talk to Darrian (Miller of Bryan Station) down here, but other than that I have not."

Question: Since Martin had a father that played at UK and seemed committed to UK, did the Indiana offensive lineman's switch to Notre Dame where his brother plays surprise you?

West: "It did surprise me. When he was down here, we spent the whole weekend together on our official visit. He was really positive about the program and told me he wasn't planning on leaving at all. I found out he de-committed and that surprised me."

Question: Does the bowl loss and a de-commitment from a player like Martin leave a bad perception on the UK football program?

West: "I think the de-commit now is just part of the process now and is why coaches have to continually recruit the players. It's not over until signing day. So those things just happen to every school."

Question: What do you think of being part of the fourth annual Border Bowl against Tennessee?

West: "It is a big deal because I didn't get to play in my last high school game, so it is a big deal to get to end my career like this."

Question: With the National Guard sponsorship of this game, does that add to the team and individual pride you feel in a game like this?

West: "I think it is both. There is a lot of state pride because we get to know each other and all-star guys get to play against Tennessee and it means a lot for us to win and we all appreciate the sponsorship."

Question: Since you mentioned missing the last game because you were ejected from the previous game, does that mean you have a nasty streak on the field?

West: "I don't even think I deserve to be thrown out in my opinion and a lot of other people didn't either. Even the opposing coach said I didn't deserve to be thrown out. The ref thought differently. It was pretty rough watching us lose, so I don't ever want that to happen again."

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