Shanks mulling his options

When you are a four-star prospect ranked 11th in the country in your position, suffice to say that you will be writing your own ticket as you select the college of your choice. Prattville (Ala.) defensive tackle, Justin Shanks, can certainly stay in SEC country but he isn't limiting his search to schools in his neck of the woods as he explores several opportunities, Arizona State included.

"Coach Steve Broussard offered me a scholarship a few weeks ago," said the 6-4 320 Justin Shanks. "He told me that Arizona State was interested in me and that I can help their defensive line right away. I saw the school's website and saw the stadium there and I really liked it.

"I don't know much about Arizona State but I did watch their game against Arizona last year and I liked their defense. They have a very good front seven, especially at linebacker. They were very active rushing the quarterback and did good job closing the lanes against the running backs."

Shanks has already taken unofficial visits to his hometown schools of Alabama and Auburn, as well as Tennessee and Memphis. LSU, Florida State and Clemson are some of the schools the Prattville standout could unofficially visit before fall camp.

When it comes to scheduling official visits, Shanks follows a specific criterion determining those destinations.

"The schools that are close to home, I'm probably going to just take unofficial visits," Shanks explained. "The schools that are far away like Arizona State, USC, Michigan State and Texas A&M those are the ones I want to take an official visit to. I can't learn that much about Arizona State by looking at their website and I didn't get to talk to all the coaches there yet. That's why I will probably visit them officially.

"I'm an only child so it's just me and my mom. So that is something that can weigh on me when I decide to play close to home or away from home. But my mom said that I need to make the decision that is best for me and not for anyone else. So in the end I will do what I have to do."

As a junior Shanks collected 50 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. He was selected to play at the U.S. Army All-American game in January. The defensive tackle reported weight room marks of 435 lbs. benching, 585 squatting and 295 on the power clean.

"I do a good job stopping the run," Shake commented on his skills. "I especially do a good job on short-yard situation and on the goal line. I need to improve on swarming to the ball when teams run it on the opposite side of me."

Shanks was non-committal as to when he would give his pledge and said that he could see himself making his decision anytime during the year.

"It just depends how I feel about everything," Shanks said. "Most likely I will just wait until signing day after I take all my visits. I'm going to decide based on the type of environment and the type of people I'm going to be around. I want to be close not only with my position coach but the other coaches on the staff. Depth chart is also important because I want to play right away."

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