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Recruiting: Irish target OT Zach Banner

Allan Joseph | Thursday, September 8, 2011

Notre Dame’s coaching staff will not be able to talk to any recruits this weekend per NCAA rules regarding recruiting during away weekends, but the Irish will be hoping to impress a big-time recruit nonetheless.

Washington offensive tackle Zach Banner will be in Ann Arbor to watch the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. Though Banner is on a visit to Michigan, Notre Dame is heavily recruiting him, Irish recruiting analyst Jason Sapp said.

“He’s a big-time offensive tackle out of Washington, and he actually plays basketball as well,” said Sapp, the football recruiting editor at Blue and Gold Illustrated. “He’s a big, 6-foot-9, 330-pound kid.”

Banner will visit Notre Dame for the USC game Oct. 22.

Sapp praised Notre Dame’s pursuit of high-quality defensive linemen, highlighted by the recent signing of New York defensive tackle Jerron Jones.

“Notre Dame is a program that’s really done well on the defensive line,” Sapp said. “[Recently] there have been some great efforts, even comparable with some SEC schools.”

Four Notre Dame commits — long snapper Scott Daly, safety John Turner, offensive tackle Taylor Decker and outside linebacker David Perkins — visited campus during Notre Dame’s season-opening loss to South Florida.

“All four of them felt the same way most Irish fans felt,” Sapp said.

Arizona offensive lineman Evan Goodman also visited campus last weekend, and while he did not expect to be impressed by the Irish, he came away swayed.

“He came into town more as a joyride,” Sapp said. “He ended up really having a good time. He talked to the staff and had some good meetings with them … Notre Dame left a good impression on him.”

While much ado has been made about Oregon and Maryland’s radical uniform design as a recruiting tool, Sapp does not believe the throwback uniforms Notre Dame will wear Saturday will have a significant effect on recruits.

“I don’t think [uniforms] come down to being an actual factor,” Sapp said. “At the end of the day, the primary factor in 99 percent of these decisions comes down to comfort level. In my experience covering and working and being a recruit, it really comes down to how comfortable you are with the program. That’s why official visits are key.”

Sapp said Notre Dame is exceptionally good at convincing recruits during official visits.

“Notre Dame does a great job of really rolling out the red carpet,” he said. “If recruits are coming into town, [the Irish] have a chance. That’s the way it is.”

For more information on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Blue and Gold Illustrated Online. For a limited time, BGI is honoring subscriptions to any other Irish football website