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Sunday, January 22, 2012
OT Zach Banner recaps visit to USC

By Greg Biggins

Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) took his fifth and final official visit this past weekend to USC. The lineman had earlier checked out Michigan, Notre Dame, Washington and Oklahoma.

“This trip was the most fun for me out of any of the visits,” Banner said. “It was pretty eye opening to see USC up close and see all the opportunities I could have if I attended school there. The highlight was just being around the players on the team, those are some real cool guys. With all these trips, my goal is to see, for 48 hours, what it would be like to attend school there and I definitely got a great vibe at USC.

“I got a campus tour, spent a lot of time with the academic people and saw the new football facilities that they’re building. I’ve been to USC twice before but this was my first time visiting the Coliseum. It was awesome, they turned the scoreboard on for us and they had our names on the scoreboard, it was really cool.”

Banner said hanging out with the Trojan players was another highlight.

“Xavier Grimble was my host but you know me, I hung out with everyone,” Banner said. “I hung with all the linemen of course but I spent time with Woody [Robert Woods], Marqise Lee, Matt Barkley and all the recruits on the team as well. That’s what’s cool about USC, everyone hangs out with everyone, offense and defensive players even.

“Right now, I have a really tough decision to make. My final three schools, USC, Oklahoma and Washington are all great schools and I got the same great feeling at everyone one of them. USC was the most fun but that doesn’t mean it’s where I’m going or leaning. There are a lot of factors going in to this decision and it’s going to be tough. I have all three schools coming in this week for home visits and that will be big for me.”

Banner added that all three schools have an opening at left tackle that they would like for him to come in and compete for from day one.

“When I was at the Coliseum, Coach [Lane] Kiffin was talking to me and said that left tackle spot if mine for the taking if I’m ready for it. With Matt Kalil leaving, he wants me to come in and earn that spot and thinks I can. Washington and Oklahoma said the same thing, they all graduated their left tackles so that’s big for me.

“My parents have gone on the visits with me and they love my final three schools. They’re completely open to any of them and aren’t trying to push me in any direction. Right now, my plan is to get through these home visits and then make my decision on Signing Day.”