2014 recruit: Taariq Shabazz

Kennesaw Mountain (GA) defensive-end Taariq Shabazz is hearing from more college coaches despite flying under the radar last summer. Inside ECU Sports spoke with him about his offer from East Carolina.

Taariq Shabazz, DE, 6-4, 240 lbs, Kennesaw Mountain High School, Kennesaw, Georgia

Taariq Shabazz didn't have a college offer until March of this year. Despite going unnoticed for some time, he now holds offers from multiple schools, including ECU.

"I was offered by (outside linebacker) coach (Duane) Price," Shabazz said. "He came to my school and talked to me and my coach and that's when he gave me my offer."

Shabazz doesn't know much about ECU or the Pirate Nation since he is out in Georgia.

"I heard the academics are really good, but that's all I've looked into so far. I've also heard they sent some guys to the NFL in recent years."

As far as visiting ECU, Shabazz said he hasn't been to campus yet. He plans on making the trip to Greenville in the next two weeks. Traveling will be a big part of this prospect's summer, but he's not sure where yet.

"I plan on going to a few camps and visits this summer, but haven't set up my schedule yet. School just let out this week so it'll take some time to plan my visits."

Southern Mississippi was the first offer for Shabazz quickly followed by Duke and ECU. Shabazz has seen rising interest from coaches of late and some in-state schools have extended offers.

"I recently got offers from Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Vanderbilt," Shabazz said. "I haven't heard much from other schools."

Shabazz expressed no preference in staying in-state versus going out-out-state for school. His main concern is that the school he chooses is the academics.

"I got all A's and B's this year," Shabazz said. "I always focus on grades before anything, even football. It shows coaches that I am focused and work hard. I am not sure what I'll study in college, probably business or sports management. A good degree to set up for a job after college is most important for me."

Alternating between defensive-end and linebacker regularly this season, helped Shabazz pose a threat on the defensive side of the ball. He believes he could play either position at the next level.

"I feel comfortable at both positions and pride myself in being versatile. I want to improve on my pass rushing so I can get more sacks next season."

Along with visiting schools that have offered, Shabazz plans on continuing to work hard and improve in the off-season.

"I want to work to get better every day. My goal is to play college football and I'm looking forward to getting on the field at the next level."

This summer will be big for this recruit and a successful visit could solidify his decision for any school. If more offers plan to come in, they'd better do it fast because this recruit intends on making his decision shortly after summer.

"I plan on deciding by August before the season starts," Shabazz said. "I want to focus on my last year of football and know where I'm going."

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