Banner enjoys leadership role

Offensive tackle Zach Banner isn't as intimidating as he first appears. Of course, that statement only holds true for those of us who aren't defensive ends, crouched in a three-point stance and wondering how to navigate around the 6-foot-8, 305-pound lineman. For the rest of us, and specifically the students at Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes High School, Banner is a gentle giant.

"His personality is bigger than his physicality," Lakes head coach Dave Miller said of Banner. "He's a tremendous kid. He cares about people and has a desire to excel."

Miller first glimpsed Banner as a 6-4 specimen, on track to become a star in football and basketball. Most coaches wouldn't have wasted any time in throwing a player like that out on the field and giving him a shot to crack the starting lineup. Miller didn't have that opportunity, because Banner was only in seventh grade.