Zach Banner is one of the biggest players in college football, even after losing weight for fall camp. The USC offensive tackle, who's listed by USC at 6-foot-9 and 360 pounds, is also one of the top prospects at his position for the 2017 NFL Draft, and he knows what the consequences could be if he doesn't stay in shape.
Banner checked into camp at 345 pounds, according to The Times. He's rated the No. 3 offensive tackle to watch in college football by NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein. The All-Pac-12 senior said his weighed ballooned last season to as high as 375. But through diet and exercise, he'll show NFL scouts a slimmer physique in his final college season. It's something he's well aware they want to see.
"I don't have anything off the field. I don't have any issues," Banner said. "You don't hear about me cussing out teachers. You don't hear about me having an issue with the law. All this type of stuff. Only thing people ever talked about was, 'Is his weight too high?'"
So what would be the ideal number of pounds on a 6-9 frame at offensive tackle? Trojans offensive line coach Neil Callaway only acknowledged that Banner's weight loss, to this point, was needed. Banner said he'd like to continue shedding weight and reach the 330s.
Banner's father, former Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy, was listed at 330 pounds at the University of Washington. At the time he was drafted (1993), 330 pounds was considered more excessively overweight than it would be by today's NFL standards. It didn't prevent Kennedy from being a first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons (No. 9 overall), but it did affect his draft status. Former New Orleans Saints coach Jim Mora has said concerns about Kennedy's weight as a draft prospect were one reason the club selected Willie Roaf at No. 8 overall that year, rather than Kennedy.
Banner's weight will no doubt be a point of intrigue in his scouting evaluation as he tips the scales next spring, perhaps beginning with the Reese's Senior Bowl if he is invited, at the NFL Scouting Combine the following month, at USC's pro day, and whenever an NFL club might want to drop in on him for a pre-draft workout.