March 10, 2011

Shanks considering options

Unlike his teammates Caleb Gulledge and Justin Thomas, Prattville defensive lineman Justin Shanks has decided to wait a little while before making a decision about where he wants to play college football.

Shanks is taking in the whole recruiting process, and new schools continue to enter the mix on a daily basis. At this point, he already has offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, South Alabama and Southern Miss.

"Recruiting is going pretty good so far," Shanks said. "I'm hearing a lot from LSU now, as well as Florida, Alabama and Auburn. Alabama's got a great coaching staff, good facilities, and it's close to my home.
"Since winning the championship, Auburn's coming up. I'm really starting to get to know them more."

Last Saturday, Shanks visited Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide's third Junior Day. It was the second time he had been to the UA campus in the last two months, and he got a chance to check out the basketball game as well as talk with the coaching staff.

"It went good," Shanks said. "I talked to (Nick) Saban. I went to the Alabama-Georgia game and had fun at that. I sat with Coach (Chris) Rumph and his family at the game. I hung around with some of the Alabama players, (Josh) Chapman and (Dont'a) Hightower."

While visiting with Saban, Shanks got a look at where he might fit in Alabama's defense, which Saban told could be similar to the role former UA defensive lineman Marcell Dareus had last year.

"Our high school defense is basically the same as their defense," Shanks said. "Saban said he could see me possibly at right end, but playing all the defensive line positions. One interesting thing he told me was the defense they run, most NFL teams run the same kind of defense.

"He was saying he could see me playing like Marcell Dareus. The state of Alabama hasn't had that many good defensive linemen coming out of high school. I'll probably be the first one since Marcell and (Nick) Fairley."

At 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, Shanks expects to play both inside and outside on the defensive line for Prattville this season. As a junior, he recorded 65 tackles and 12 sacks.

In the weight room, his numbers are equally impressive. He maxed out recently, and he bench pressed 405 pounds, squatted 545 pounds and power cleaned 280 pounds.

Even though Shanks is taking his time with his decision, there's still a chance he gets it out of the way this summer so he can concentrate on his senior season.

"I want to make a decision before the season starts like sometime during the summer, but if I don't make it by then, I'll probably just wait until signing day," he said.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at [email protected]

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