Zach Banner hardly slept a wink.
He isn’t much of a bed hog, anyway. Much of that has to do with his early-rising habits at USC – up at 4 a.m. for stretching before the Trojans’ football team workout.
And on Friday night – on the eve of the final day of the 2017 NFL Draft – Banner had plenty on his mind.
“Waking up this morning wasn’t hard,” said Banner, who was also a high school All-American at Lakes High School.
And shortly after 10:30 a.m. Saturday while sitting on the family couch, Banner received the phone call that changed his life in football – from the Indianapolis Colts.
New general manager Chris Ballard was on the line, telling the largest prospect in this NFL Draft that he was about to be selected in the fourth round – at No. 137 overall.
“I was just sitting and listening to music, which kept me quiet and open,” said the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Banner.
“It was very, very exciting, in terms of the process. But it was nerve-racking as the days went by – like going into the fourth quarter and you are looking up (at the scoreboard) to see if you were going to get a win.
“I am just really, really happy. I really wanted to play for them. They showed the most interest in me.”
After the second day Friday night, Ballard told media members in Indianapolis that he was planning on drafting an offensive lineman Saturday – even after the organization selected four offensive linemen in last year’s NFL Draft.
And Ballard had done his homework on Banner, as did Colts offensive line coach Joe Philbin.
Philbin visited Banner first in California, spending up to four hours with him in the film room, then another hour working him out.
Ballard also came out to Los Angeles and spent half a day with Banner in his apartment, just getting to know him.
Now the Colts have another piece at right tackle to try and protect franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been sacked 156 times in five seasons, including a career-high 41 last season.
Banner said he isn’t concerned right now where he fits in on the depth chart, saying only, “My interpretation of all of this is that I am with a great organization, a great team, a great coach, and great quarterback, a great running back – and an offensive line that looks awesome to work with.”
Then he stopped and reiterated the active part of that.
“I didn’t say be with the team,” Banner said, “but work with the team. “I’ve got to go to work.”
Banner will report to the team for the first time May 11.