With just two true tight ends on the roster and Sal Cannella looking more like a big wide receiver during spring practices, Shenker said for him the goal is to come in and be ready to play.
“I sure hope so,” he said of his opportunity to play early. “That won’t be settled until I get there and the toe meets the rubber. I feel like if I work hard enough and get in the playbook that I have a chance to play a little bit.”
Weighing in at around 230 pounds on signing day in early February, Shenker said the Auburn workout plan has allowed him to not only get quicker and more explosive, but to also gain some much needed muscle mass.
“That’s the main goal, but I my speed is the main thing I was trying to get up a little bit,” Shenker said. “I think I’ve done that. Obviously, getting stronger in my legs and everywhere has been a goal.”
Making a visit to Auburn to check out the Tigers in a spring practice while also watching the spring game, Shenker said seeing the changes in the offense and a bigger emphasis on the passing game under new coordinator Chip Lindsey got his attention.
“It kind of fits what I ran in high school, too, with Coach Rush Propst,” Shenker said. “It’s exciting to know how I’ll fit into the offense when I get there.”
A new part of the fit for Shenker and the Tigers is having Coach Larry Porter coming from North Carolina to coach the tight ends. Known as a dynamic recruiter and a guy who relates well to his players, Shenker said he likes what he sees and hears from him already.
“First of all he’s very firm in what he believes in,” Shenker said. “I like how he starts with fundamentals first and makes sure you have that. Once you have that he takes steps forward. I think he’s going to be a great coach.”
In addition to watching Porter in action as a coach, Shenker said just seeing how the Tigers work in practice and how the offense goes about its day-to-day activities was important for him to get a head start on his freshman season.
“It kind of gives you a feel for the expectations they have for you when you get there,” Shenker said. “They’re intense, but you’ve got to like it. I think that was very important for me to see how the speed of the game is and to see what they expect of you when you get there.”
Tiger Ticket Extra:
One of Auburn’s targets in the 2018 class was a teammate of Shenker’s this past season at Colquitt County High, four-star linebacker J.J. Peterson. Making a trip over to see the Tigers in the spring, the athletic linebacker is in the crosshairs for Coach Travis Williams and Shenker said he’s doing all he can to help.
“We are pretty close friends at school and I have been talking to him a little bit,” Shenker said. “I’m trying to see what he’s thinking. I can’t really get too much out of him right now. He definitely likes Auburn, I know that much. I don’t know where they stand though because he doesn’t talk about too much really.”