Ducks Seek A Banner In Eugene

Lakewood (WA) Lakes four-star offensive lineman Zach Banner has caused quite a stir in both football and basketball circles since he entered high school. Now approaching his senior season at the prep level, Banner is rapidly closing in on a decision of where to go to college. After taking a second Junior Day visit to Eugene, has the picture become any clearer?

Do you currently have an offer from Oregon?

"Yes."

What kind of contact have you had with Oregon since the recruiting process started for you?

"I've been in contact with coach (Steve) Greatwood, the line coach, and I also met coach (Chip) Kelly and I also met with (Oregon men's head basketball) coach (Dana) Altman -- because they've offered me for both sports. They've talked about me being a dual-sport athlete my freshman year and seing how that works. That was my second Junior Day going there. They invited me my sophomore year and I've been there my junior year. I've been on all these unofficial visits to Oregon and I like it there."

And you're looking to play basketball, at least your freshman year, wherever you go. Is that correct?

"Right."

What is your overall interest in Oregon at this point?

"It's definitely high interest. There about dead even with everybody, but I definitely see Oregon up there."

What is it that stands out to you about Oregon?

"Just the location; they're in the Northwest. They've got a good football team -- of course they've been very successful the last couple of years -- they have a rich tradition with all their athletics and their facilities and the campus is nice. It's just a good place to be."

In general, how did your Junior Day visit to Eugene go?

"We got to walk around the campus, walk around the facilities and see the training room, we got to go to practice and then we had a nice dinner later on that night. I was also able to go to the basketball game against Creighton."

Was there one thing in particular that stood out to you or impressed you while on your visit to Oregon?

"The fan support. I didn't really realize that Oregon fans are so religious about Oregon athletics. It's just crazy. I noticed it in person while we were at the (basketball) game, it wasn't even packed and it was loud."

What are your impressions of Eugene and the University of Oregon campus, overall?

"It's definitely a small town, but it's definitely a college town. It's something I gotta look in to and research it and find out whether I can be comfortable for four years."

Did you get a chance to interact with any of the other recruits who were in town for the Junior Day?

"I didn't really get a chance to talk about how their experience was going. I was mostly with my family and coach Greatwood and the recruiter, so I didn't get much interaction with them. I got to say 'what's up' to them and chill with them and look around and stuff, but there really wasn't that much that we talked about."

Did you get a chance to talk to any of the current players on the team?

"I got to talk to some of them, but not really a sit down conversation with them."

Was there any urge deep within yourself or from the coaching staff to make a commitment right then and there?

"No. There was no pressure. They want me to take my official visit there and make sure I make the right choice."

Do you have a timetable for when you would like to have a decision made?

"I should have it narrowed down by later on in the summer, but I'm not really thinking about it right now."

How would you describe yourself as a player?

"Very agile, fast for my position, I like to finish blocks."

Is there anyone at the collegiate or professional level that you try to pattern your game after?

"To be honest, not really. I try to be my own guy. A lot of people say, with my height and everything, that I'm like (Jonathan) Ogden but I want to be something different. I want to be a guy who is able to pass block and I also want to be a guy who is able to go around a corner and pancake a linebacker. I want to be able to do it all. I think there's a lot of linemen out there who are the best at one thing, but then they slack in the other...I'm trying to be the best at all that."

What are you looking for in a program?

"Rich tradition. I won't make a decision based on who's going there, who's already there, will I be able to play...I don't think about that. If I like the school and am comfortable there then I want to go there. I'm thinking about our team winning a national championship. I'm not thinking about if I'm going to be able to start my freshman year -- which I do want to start my freshman year -- but I'm not afraid to take a senior's position."

Have you given any thought as to what you might want to study when you get to college?

"I want to get a criminal justice degree, but if I want to go somewhere that doesn't have it then I won't (major in it)."

What are some of the offers that you have right now?

"I have basically the whole Pac-12, most of the SEC, most of the ACC, about three or four Big Ten schools, and Texas A&M. The only three that I'm waiting for are Texas, Ohio State, and Florida."

Would you say you have any favorite schools at this point?

"I don't have any favorites. I'm just waiting."

Do you have any plans to attend any camps? Junior Days? Unofficial visits?

"I'll definitely be at the Northwest Nike camps."

Zach Banner profile

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney


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