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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

December 22, 2011 at 6:50 AM

KeiVarae Russell, Zach Banner — HS football recruiting notes

russellphoto01[2].jpgSeattle Times photo by Ken Lambert

KeiVarae Russell knows exactly where he’s going to play college football.

The Mariner running back has already made his decision. However, if you want to know where he’ll be playing next season, you’ll have to wait.

“It’s not tough at all,” said Russell, when asked where he’s at in the process. “I know exactly where I’m going. I’m just not going to tell anyone until next week.”

Right now, he’s not tipping his cap on whether it will be Washington or Notre Dame. He plans to make his decision public during a ceremony at Mariner at noon Dec. 29 — there is a chance it will happen on the 28th.

“I saw myself going to that school a few weeks ago, probably before my Cal visit,” he said. “I kind of knew where I was going to go but I wanted to make sure.”

It has become commonplace for top-tier recruits to have ceremonies to announce their decisions. Last year both Skyline product Kasen Williams and Gig Harbor tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins held events in their communities and Russell won’t be any different.

If it all comes together, he plans to put his own spin on the announcement.

“I’ve got to find a little outfit but it’s going to be cool, don’t even worry about it,” Russell said. “I’m figuring out a way. If this doesn’t come through, I’m going to have to do the original hat thing, but I’ll find a way to make it unique. It’s going to be a thrill, watch.”

Russell said he has been getting daily calls for the last 2 1/2 years with people asking him about his future plans. He has enjoyed the process, but he’s ready to make it official.

“It’s been hectic,” he said. “I’m ready to move on, focus on my next task. It’s a fun ride, but it was stressful.”

Lakes’ Zach Banner weighs final three schools

Zach Banner stood in the locker room underneath the gym at Franklin High School wearing a basketball uniform.

While it will be a different color uniform next season, the big-time offensive line recruit still plans to continue his basketball career at the next level.

So, eventually, when he selects one of the programs in his final three — Washington, USC or Oklahoma — it will be to play both football and basketball.

“All three schools, I’m playing both,” he said. “I’ve not only made myself into a national player in football, but also a national player in basketball and I feel like I’m going to do an excellent job at the next level in basketball, too, and I’ve been showing that in my high-school games.”

He still has a visit to USC in January and he plans to make his decision after that.

“It just feels good to know that I can play both there and understand that they have good offensive line coaches and good teams,” he said. “I see all three of those schools competing for a national title in the next four years and that’s my main focus. It’s not personal stuff, like going to the NFL. It’s more about the team and the national championship.”

When asked about the pull of staying close to home compared to the allure of leaving, Banner said he is focused on finding the best fit.

“A lot of people say, if I don’t end up going to UW, it’s like I’ll lose everything, I’ll have to start over,” Banner said. “That’s not the case. I’ve made a name for myself as a person and a player, so if I was to go to USC or Oklahoma, I’d come back here in 20 years and set up a family here in Washington and I feel like I’d be treated the same as if I’d gone to UW. I’ve built that over my last four years in high school and I feel good about it.”

Other recruiting notes: reported recently that Bothell receiver Trent Sewell has accepted an offer to play at Wyoming.

And, there’s a chance his good friend and former teammate at O’Dea, defensive back Jayshawn Jordan, could be joining him after picking up and offer from the Cowboys.

Bellevue lineman Jake Eldrenkamp has received an offer from Washington State, while linebacker Sean Constantine added an offer from UCLA.

It will be interesting to see how Bruins coach Jim Mora recruits in Washington, considering his ties to the area.

In some disappointing news, Woodinville’s Sawyer Whalen recently had his offer to Portland State pulled, while Federal Way linebacker Jordan Pulu, no longer has the offer he accepted from Washington State.

Both players are currently looking into alternative options. I was out at Federal Way Wednesday and I was told that defensive lineman Uso Olive — a Portland State commit — running back D.J. May and Pulu all have offers from Wyoming among others.

The Cowboys have done a very good job in Washington recently. They have locked up some talent that has slipped below the Pac-12 radar, athletes who should really help the program.

As information pours in leading up to signing day, I’ll try to put up a post like this as often as possible.



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