"Alabama offered Cunningham a greyshirt and Oregon offered him a
full scholarship," Pinson Valley head coach Matt Glover said. "I
think the colleges are really starting to take notice of Zach."
Coach Glover believes Zach is the best player he has ever coached.
"Without question Zach is the best football player I've ever coached.
Earnest Robinson plays wide receiver for us. He's committed to Auburn. Earnest
is the best wide receiver I've ever coached, but I told everyone that came
by here this season that Zach is the best player I've ever coached. When he
gets to college, and puts on some weight, he's going to be a man. By week seven
he went from having just a couple of offers to holding around 15-20 scholarships."
Glover goes over Cunningham's offers.
"Oregon is his latest. Alabama offered him a greyshirt. Ole Miss offered him a few weeks back. Tennessee was his first offer. Colorado and UCLA have offered and several of the smaller schools have offered."
Alabama is working the greyshirt angle.
"Alabama wants him to greyshirt. I don't know if he wants to do that.
Zach comes from a large family, and I don't know how that would work out, but
if they offered him a full scholarship right now I'm pretty sure he would take
it. That has pretty much the school he's always wanted to go to."
A couple more schools are getting closer to offering.
"South Carolina called last week. They want to bring him in for a visit. Vandy offered two linebackers, and committed those two, but their linebacker coach is trying to get them to take a third linebacker. They're pretty impressed with his film."
What makes Zach so special?
"He plays with great leverage. He can drop his hips and take on blocks. Zach is 6' 4" but plays with a low center of gravity. This year he took off because he started using his hands so well. Last year he had a little trouble getting off of blocks but he started shedding blocks this season. Zach is just so instinctive. He takes all of the right angles and has the speed to make up for a wrong angle if he makes a mistake. The kid has such long arms. Zach is just the whole package at linebacker. He led our team in tackles (178), sacks (14), tackles for loss (37), and he also chipped in two interceptions."
Auburn was getting close to offering before coach Gene Chizik was dismissed.
"Coach Thigpen called the Thursday before they got fired. I told him that he was the best linebacker in the state. He asked me if Zach could play safety, and I told him that he could play safety but I think he will grow into a 240-pound outside linebacker."
Zach has attended games at Vandy, Alabama, and Auburn this fall.
"He went to the Iron bowl and a couple other Alabama and Auburn games. I took him up to Vandy earlier this season. He wanted to go over and see Ole Miss play but it never worked out, and MSU was actually the first school who started showing Zach a lot of interest. He wanted to go see them play too but they never offered him. That really stumped us. We thought they would probably be the first school to offer him."
Where does Cunningham go from here?
"We just finished our season. I told him we were not even going to think about where he wants to go until our season ended which it has. I'm going to sit down with Zach and his family soon and try and narrow things down. Everything is fresh for him right now. He went from a two-star prospect with not many offers to a lot of different options. Ole Miss came by the school the other day. Alabama has been by. Vandy has come by. We're just getting into the recruiting process. I don't know if proximity is going to be a big thing for him. Oregon now has an offer on the table. He just doesn't know yet. If Alabama offered him to go on scholarship in the fall I think that is where he would go. We'll go really in-depth with this and go where he feels the most comfortable.
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at email@example.com