A True Guam Giant

July 12, 2017 Juvy Dichoso
 
AT 6-FOOT-8-INCHES TALL and 353 pounds, Zach Banner strikes a very imposing figure.  But his stature looms even larger to his many fans and supporters on Guam, who are thrilled by his recent selection by the Indianapolis Colts that made him the first Chamorro to make it to the National Football League.

Zach grew up in Washington State, and is the son of Vanessa Sukola Banner and Ron Banner. His biological father is Lincoln Kennedy, a three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons and the Oakland Raiders.

Zach was an All-American offensive lineman for the University of Southern California, and started for three years at Right Tackle for the Trojans.  He was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team in his senior year.

The Communications major has been a charismatic presence on the school campus and in the community doing charity work and appearances. Zach took the time out in January of this year to meet a young cancer patient from Guam, 10-year-old Samantha Surban, while she was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Los Angeles.

He was also a nominee for the national Senior CLASS award that recognizes top student athletes who exhibit excellence in communication, classroom, character, and competition.

Zach’s fun-loving side also shined through in a video that went viral on the Internet.  He and his fellow USC linemen got stuck in what was obviously a very cramped elevator. He whipped out his cellphone and orchestrated an impromptu rap session that found its way to Instagram and became famous as “the elevator rap.”  

Zach was selected by the Colts with the 137th pick, in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. According to the colts.com website, “Banner is easily the biggest lineman on the Colts roster...Unlike last year, the Colts do not need their rookie offensive lineman to come in and play from Day One. If Banner needs to fine-tune his frame a bit, the Colts have capable bodies to go ahead and start.”

His personal message to Guam: “Being the first person with Chamorro blood to be drafted [in the NFL] is one of the most amazing responsibilities that has ever been blessed upon me, and I’ll gladly accept that torch. My whole life I have worked to become the best that I can, and to make my family proud. Never in my mind, as I continued to progress in playing sports, did I ever say, ‘Man I can’t wait to be the first Chamorro drafted in the NFL!’ If I had aimed for my end goal to be something like that, then I would have settled already.”

He continued, “Instead, I’m still filled with the same passion that got me here. I want to keep working, and I want to continue to represent the Guam flag throughout my career in the NFL. Even if I can’t bring the flag on the field at this level (there’s a fine), I have carried it proudly in the past and will continue to represent my people in other ways, off the field. And that will never change! I can’t wait to get back to the Guam community in the 2018 offseason, and I can’t wait to give back to my people. Biba Guahan!”


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