Tigers Looking Good to 4-Star Linebacker

Zach Cunningham

Pinson Valley High linebacker Zach Cunningham talks about his weekend visiting the Auburn football Tigers.

Pinson, Ala.--Zach Cunningham's tremendous senior season made him a target for a large number of college football programs including Auburn, where the lanky, four-star linebacker visited this weekend and came away seriously considering Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers.

Asked how Auburn stands with him, Cunningham said he doesn't have a favorite, but added "it is looking real good."

"I am going to try to wait to take all of my visits before I decide on anything," noted Cunningham, who is scheduled to visit Oregon this coming weekend. The following weekend he will try to take two official visits to Vanderbilt and Tennessee, and then he should be ready to make a decision.

Because he wasn't heavily recruited until late in his senior season, Cunningham said that he needs time to visit colleges before making his choice. "I am trying to wind it down, but I really haven't had time to do it," he said. "I guess I am trying to give everybody a chance." However, he said he has narrowed "everybody" to the four colleges he is officially visiting.

Cunningham, a 6-4, 205-pound linebacker, became a hot prospect this past fall as he put together a tremendous season for Pinson Valley High, where he made 192 tackles with 12 sacks in 2012.

That earned him an invitation to play in the Semper Fi All-American Game in Carson, Calif., an experience he said that he really enjoyed.

He said the same thing about his weekend in Auburn. "It was good. We hung out with the teammates and coaches and got to talk to all of them. We got to meet all of the other recruits so we had fun."

Making the trip with his high school coach, Matt Glover and his teammate, Auburn wide receiver commitment Earnest Robinson, Cunningham said several factors will play a role in deciding his college choice. "How I feel with the atmosphere and the environment. I brought my mom and she will play a big factor in it with how she feels about the school and making sure I get a good education, and making sure I have a good connection with the teammates.

"My momma really wants me to stay close to home so she can come watch my games and I can still come home and visit on weekends," said Cunningham, who noted that his mother "loved" the visit to Auburn.

"It is important to my mom that she is sure I am going to be safe and she has nothing to worry about," he added.

LaDarius Owens was Cunningham's player host for his official visit. "We hung out at his house and played a game and I beat him."

"For me the best part of the visit I would say was hanging out with the team. We went to Jake Holland's house and I was there with Kiehl Frazier and another player. That was a lot of fun."

For Cunningham a big part of the visit was getting to know the Auburn coaching staff. "They said they are really trying to rebuild the program with all of the new coaches," he said. "They told me they really want me to come to Auburn. They were talking about having me play an outside linebacker or safety. I think I will be okay with that."

Zach Cunningham is shown in action as a senior.

Cunningham played middle linebacker at Pinson Valley. "In 10th grade i was playing outside linebacker," he said. "I only got switched (to inside linebacker) because they were running away from my side. He wanted me to be in the middle so I could go side to side."

A strong student in high school, Cunningham said he hasn't decided what he wants to major in as a college student. Coach Glover said the linebacker has a 3.5 grade point average and scored 24 on his ACT.

Robinson got a lot of early recruiting attention, but that didn't happen for Cunningham until deep into his senior year. Glover said the attention is well deserved for a linebacker he said has a knack for being at the right place and the right time during a game.

"He is the best football player I have ever coached--period, bar none," Glover said. "I will put him up against any linebacker in this state."

Cunningham's scholarship offers include Tennessee, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Colorado, Penn State, Oregon, Louisiana Tech, Troy, South Alabama and North Carolina State.

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