August 16, 2010

Junior DT heading to Tide scrimmage

Powerhouse Prattville High has been one of the most consistent high school programs in the state at producing college-ready talent and the 2012 class is shaping up to be one of the most talent-heavy classes in the school's history. One of the Lions' top junior prospects heading into the season is defensive tackle Justin Shanks, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound lineman who holds early offers from both Alabama and Auburn.

"I'm going to be playing a bigger role for our defense this year," Shanks said. "We are a young team and we don't have a lot of senior starters so I think I really need to step up and try and be a leader. This is my first season where I'm starting the year as a starter so I feel more comfortable with my role and hopefully I can set a good example on the field for my teammates."

The junior star's continuing physical development means he'll likely have the opportunity to play either inside or outside when he reaches the college level.

"Most colleges have talked to me about being a defensive tackle but I know Alabama has said I could play at end too depending on how much I grow in the next couple years."

Shanks had a busy summer on the camp circuit and now as he prepares to begin his junior season, many of the South's top programs are beginning to show more interest.

"I've been hearing from several other schools lately, probably from Florida and Stanford the most. Alabama and Auburn are both still really high on me as well and I actually went to Auburn's scrimmage over the weekend. They looked pretty good, especially their freshmen."

While the Tigers have made a strong impression to date, Shanks has been equally impressed with the Crimson Tide and plans on getting a closer look this weekend.

"I'm planning on going down to Alabama's scrimmage this Saturday with my teammates Justin Thomas and Caleb Gulledge. All three of us grew up around Alabama football so it's kind of neat that all of us are involved with Alabama in the recruiting process."

"Probably the thing I like most about Alabama is the coaching staff. Coach Smart and I get along really well and I'm getting to know Coach (Bo) Davis) pretty well too. Alabama's coaches really push their players to give their best but you can really trust them to help make you a better player and to look out for your best interests."

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