"It was wonderful," Shanks said. "I got a chance to see how they are going to look this upcoming year. I noticed they played a lot of young guys. I might be in that situation if I go over there. I liked it. The defense is looking pretty good. The offense is stepping it up. They've got a lot of athletes. It was good to watch them practice.
"I have been there a lot of times. I'm getting to know the players and the coaches. I just wanted to see how their style of defense is and how they play it. It's real big seeing how their rotation goes. That's good to see."
Expected to be one of the top defensive line prospects in the country next year, Shanks already has several offers including one from Auburn even though he's never been a starter for the powerful Lions. That will change this season as he moves to the first team. Because of that he said right now he's backed off of the recruiting trail some as the season gets closer.
"I have kind of put it on the back burner," Shanks said. "I'm focusing on my year right now. I want to try to do real good so they keep those offers for me."
Also entering his first season as a starter at quarterback, Thomas is following in the same path as Shanks. Auburn, Alabama, LSU and South Alabama are his offers at the moment after an impressive summer camp circuit. He said all that does is want to make him perform even better.
"When it first happens (offers) it's pretty crazy but it cools off after that," Thomas said. "After that you can go ahead and concentrate on what you've got to do. I still have to go out and work every day for my team so we can win."
Making his second visit to Auburn in the last few months, Thomas is also following the lead of his teammate in getting to know more and more about the Tigers. He said for him Saturday was an opportunity to see how things are on the field with the coaching staff and players and he liked what he saw.
"It was pretty good," Thomas said. "I got a chance to see what they do on both sides of the ball. I got to see how they perform and how the coaches coach on the field. It's real nice to see how they do things in game situations.
"I like it a lot," he added. "They are laid back and relaxed. They like to have a good time. That's something I like. The coaches aren't uptight. They are always relaxed and able to talk to you."
Shanks, Thomas and the rest of the Lions will play Gadsden City in a jamboree this week before opening the season at home against Blount the following Friday night.