NOTE: We’re going to stream Zach’s announcement online on Monday. You can find it here on the blog.
Zach Banner’s mind is made up.
“I know where I’m going to school,” Banner said Sunday evening. “I can’t wait for Monday.”
The elite offensive tackle from Lakes High will let the public in on his choice at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Monday at the performing arts center at Lakes.
Banner’s three finalists are Oklahoma, USC and Washington. Predicting what direction the 6-foot-9, 330-pound prospect is leaning is difficult because Banner has been mum since returning home from an official visit a week ago to USC.
The media-friendly Banner cancelled radio interviews and turned down interview requests from reporters until he spoke to The News Tribune on Sunday evening, opting instead to focus this week on his decision.
Rated as the No. 16 prospect in the country by Rivals.com, Banner also cancelled scheduled in-home visits with coaches from the three schools, saying he has all the information he needed to pick a school.
With no distractions, Banner discussed his options with his parents, Ron and Vanessa, and few others.
“I did talk with my family about what they think,” he said. “The great thing about that is they let me make my decision. They know I’ve thought a lot about this. I didn’t take it lightly.
“My parents are cool with it.”
Banner can make his oral commitment permanent on Feb. 1 when recruits can sign national letters of intent.
Banner had scholarship offers from dozens of schools and took official visits to Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC and Washington.
He whittled his focus to the Sooners, Trojans and Huskies in December.
Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian took Banner’s recruitment into his own hands shortly after the team returned home from the Alamo Bowl in late December, something Banner acknowledged two weeks ago as being “special” when he and the Lakes basketball team played a game at Alaska Airlines Arena on UW’s campus.
Banner would be a boost to any recruiting class, particularly UW’s.
So far, UW has missed out on most of the top in-state recruits and securing an oral commitment from Banner would go a long way in salvaging the recruiting class, at least from a public relations standpoint.
Banner isn’t the only Lakes football player with a decision to make this week.
Receiver Cedric Dozier is also undeclared. Dozier orally committed to California in the fall, but was shaken when receivers coach Eric Kiesau left two weeks ago to be offensive coordinator at Washington. Dozier took an official visit to Washington State last week and is seriously thinking about committing to the Cougars, Lancers coach Dave Miller said.
Miller said Dozier enjoyed his visit to WSU and Pullman’s small-town atmosphere. Before moving to Washington in eighth-grade, Dozier grew up in Roanoke, Ala., a town of 7,000 people.
Dozier will not announce his intentions at the news conference on Monday, Miller said, and it could come at any time until signing day.
The coach also said safety Ma’ne Manaea remains orally committed to Idaho and did not take an official visit this weekend.
Running back Levonte Littlejohn took an official visit to Central Washington University this weekend. Littlejohn has also been offered a spot as a preferred walk-on at WSU.