Shanks Visits Auburn, Talks Pelton

Prattville standout Justin Shanks talks about visiting Auburn to talk with new defensive line coach Mike Pelton.

Prattville, Ala.--One of the South's top defensive tackles took an unofficial visit to Auburn on Thursday to check out the Tigers and new coach Mike Pelton. After spending several hours getting to know the new coach Justin Shanks said so far so good for the Tigers.

"I really enjoyed it," Shanks said of his visit. "He (Pelton) seemed like a real cool guy. I got to spend some time with him and talked about my family and his family. It was a really fun time.

"It was very important," he added of the visit. "I really liked coach Tracy Rocker. To have somebody else that is an Auburn guy and has been through it and now he's going to coach and give back. It's really very important.

Hired to replace Tracy Rocker as Auburn's defensive line coach, Pelton is also a former Tiger standout on the defensive line after coming to the Plains as a linebacker. Familiar with Gene Chizik after working for him at Iowa State, Pelton is returning home and Shanks said that's what he talked about on Thursday.

"He talked about how he played for Auburn," Shanks said. "He grew up in a small country town (Goshen). He said it had been a while but he remembered played for his own home team."

Once his coaching career began Pelton began to shine. At no point was that brighter when he was coaching for another Auburn player, Larry Blakeney, at Troy. Tutoring future NFL standouts DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyora for the Trojans, Pelton has shown a knack for getting production out of his guys. That's something that Shanks said he was impressed with.

"He talked about some players that are in the NFL right now," Shanks said. "It's really nice to know he's got some players in the league."

Currently with around a dozen offers with Florida State, Louisville, Arkansas and LSU the most recent, Shanks said that even though he likes both Auburn and Alabama he wants to take a closer look at some schools outside the state before he makes a decision.

"It's going pretty good right now," Shanks said. "Teams are probably going to start coming in during the spring. I'm getting prepared for that. I would like to have a decision by the end of the summer."

Shanks said he plans to visit Tennessee to see the Vols practice and he also hopes to visit both Auburn and Alabama for their A-Day Games.


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