Hanks Says He Needs To Get Away

There are wide receivers who are capable of breaking tackles. Alabama's Julio Jones is a good example of that. But there aren't many like Julio. Look at a team photograph of a football team and the wide receivers tend to be readily identifiable.

They are the long, lean guys. Guys like Alabama wide receiver Darius Hanks, 6-0 and 184.

Hanks has a specific area in which he is hoping to improve during Alabama's Fall work. "After I caught the ball last year, I would get tackled pretty easily," said Hanks. "This year, I want to be able to catch the ball and break the tackle and score."

Last year Hanks had 17 receptions for 272 yards, a nice 16 yards per catch average. He had three touchdown receptions, just one less than Julio Jones. His yards-per-catch average was greater than Jones's. Julio had 43 catches for 596 yards, a 13.9 average. Hanks was fifth on the team in receptions and in yards.

In hopes of becoming better at breaking tackles, Hanks has been talking to two of Alabama's better YACers. Tailbacks Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson are well known for Yards After Contact.

Hanks said, "I'm trying to take some of their game and add it to mine.I see little things they do as far as breaking tackles, and I try to add that to my repertoire.

"What things you see. When people are coming to tackle you, get those knees up.Stiffarm. Everything."

He also takes some lessons from Julio. "He's physical," Hanks said. "He's real physical. Me, being a smaller guy, I feel I have to have that in my game, also. I have to be a real physical guy."

To that end Hanks has been hard at work. "I just want to get my body in shape this year," he said. "When the season hits, I want to be a big, big guy. I'm not going to be the biggest guy on the field, but I want people to be able to tell I'm in the weightroom this year."

There's one major area in which there has been no change in Hanks from last year. In 2009, the Norcross, Ga., native was listed as a junior. When he returned to the Crimson Tide for the 2010 season, he got the good news that he is a junior once again.

"I found out about a month ago," he said. "It was really good news. I had thought things were so hectic because I was getting ready for my final season. Now that I know I have another year, I can work to improve the little things in my game."

Hanks had played a few snaps in his first year, 2007, then was awarded a medical redshirt.

"Coach Saban fought for it and they gave me my year back," he said.

He does have a nice memory from that one game against Western Carolina in 2007. "I caught my first pass and it was from Greg (current Tide star quarterback Greg McElroy)," Hanks said.

For his career, Hanks has 26 catches for 366 yards and three touchdowns (all the TDs came last season). He has played in 24 games and started seven. All seven starts came in last year's national championship season.

One of the big questions this year is how Alabama's young defensive backs are working out. Hanks works against them every day. He said, "They're really good. Coach Saban is bringing in some studs."

There are also some young wide receivers, and Hanks said he is trying to help them. "I'm a leader this year," he said. "I'm helping the young guys out. I'm voicing my opinion out on the field. I'm trying to do everything right this year."

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