Banner shows patience in the process

Arguably the top offensive line recruit on the West Coast, if not the country, resides in the Puget Sound area, but when you talk to Lakes (Lakewood, Wa.) OL Zach Banner, other than his size, he isn't a larger-than-life figure. He's a down-to-earth young man who has over 40 offers to play football as well as a handful to play basketball and he said patience will be the key for him in deciding...

Banner, who is currently 6'9", 300, rarely stands eye-to-eye with anyone, but on Saturday at a media event, the big lineman was standing next to Tacoma (Wa.) Baptist OL Walker Williams and the two are very close in stature.

"Oh man, that was unbelievable," Banner said with a laugh. "Walker is a great guy and he and I are real good friends. We're going to start, after basketball is over, we're going to start working out, the three of us -- me, Walker and Josh Garnett -- and that's three great linemen all working out and working together."

When you hear his height and weight, you think that Banner looks more like a basketball player, but he carries his weight well and looks more muscular than he had been even as recently as this past summer.

"It's all weight room and running," Banner noted. "When you play basketball for a top team like I do at Lakes, the coaches there know how to keep you trim.

"Up until this offseason, I had never gotten into the weight room like I am now. I've never done it like I am now and with these guys. I want to be the first NFL lineman with a six-pack.

"With my long arms, it's hard to put weight up like I need to, so you just have to gut it out and work on your technique and I can definitely feel I'm getting stronger. I never wanted to be that lineman with a gut and I don't plan on getting one in college either."

With his size and athleticism, Banner has already garnered offers from a "who's, who" of colleges from across the country and a few have told him they will take him as both a footballer and a basketball player.

"The five that have said I could do both are Washington -- coach (Lorenzo) Romar and coach (Steve) Sarkisian are on the same page and both have said I can come in and play both sports," Banner said. "Then Oregon, Cal, LSU and Washington State have also said I could play both."

As far as making a decision, Banner has been able to watch friends from the past two classes go through the process and said he'd like to make his decision early, but because of the NCAA rule against players taking official visits before their senior year begins, he'll need to wait until at least December if not January of 2012.

"I'm going to have to take it all the way to the end," Banner noted. "The NCAA have the times when you can visit and it sucks that I have to wait 'til my senior to take my visits, but that's the way it's gotta be.

"This summer I'm going to narrow things down, I've promised my coach and everybody at my school that I'm going to start narrowing it down, but I'm only going to narrow it down to like 25 or 30 because I want to make the right decision for me and my family."

Banner has ties to both in-state schools -- his biological father, Lincoln Kennedy, played for the Huskies and his adopted father and mother both graduated from Washington State -- and he said that is something to consider, but won't play a factor in his recruitment.

"Honestly, at first it helped," Banner said. "At first everyone was like 'oh, big boy is going to stay home', but then when you start going national and becoming one of the top prospects in the country, you have to open things up, so it really doesn't matter.

"In the end a lot of it will be the coaching staff, school tradition, academics, location really doesn't matter -- I could be in the cold or I could be in the heat -- it doesn't matter to me."

We'll continue to keep tabs on Banner as he works his way through the recruiting process and as he gets ready to narrow things down just a bit this summer.

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