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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 30, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Banner to USC

The Huskies have taken another in-state recruiting hit as Lakes High offensive tackle Zach Banner, regarded by most as one of the top two recruits in the state this year and one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the country, announced today he will sign with USC.

Banner said in a ceremony at Lakes High that he felt like USC had become a “home away from home” and that he didn’t make the final decision until Sunday night. He said he plans to play basketball as well as football at USC.

Banner was the last in-state player known to be being recruited by the Huskies who was still considering UW.

His decision means UW will get just one of what were generally considered to be the top five prospects in the state this year, quarterback Jeff Lindquist of Mercer Island. Guard Josh Garnett of Puyallup announced last week he would attend Stanford while RB KeiVarae Russell of Mariner High has announced for Notre Dame and Lakes High WR Cedric Dozier will announce soon if he will attend Cal or WSU.

Failing to get many of the top in-state players has recruiting analysts ranking UW’s class to date in the bottom half of the Pac-12.

But the Huskies are hoping for a fast close in the next two days prior to the Feb. 1 signing date with players such as highly-rated safety Shaq Thompson of Grant High in Sacramento and WR Jordan Payton of Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., regarded as likely to commit to Washington.

There will be inevitable and unavoidable questions of how UW struggled to attract in-state players and what the Huskies will do about it in the future. The answer is that UW has already taken the most significant step it can to trying to solve the problem with the recent overhaul of the coaching staff and hires of a few new assistants regarded as some of the better recruiters on the West Coast, such as Tosh Lupoi. Recruiting was no doubt a factor in the changes that were made, and the replacements that were found.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian also took the lead on the recruitment of Banner in the last month or so. But it all proved a little too little and too late in the case of Banner.

ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has more on Banner’s decision.

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