Primarily, Shankle, a 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, will start at wide receiver in South Stanly's spread offense. While he'll be the go-to guy, he will also serve as a decoy numerous times a game to keep the defense honest.
"Several formations last year [opponents] tried to bracket him," Little said. "With the athletic quarterback we've got, we're going to use that to our advantage a lot. We'll move [Shankle] out to the one side and if they have him bracketed, they can't fully account for what our quarterback is going to do on the opposite side."
Shankle, who is also the back-up quarterback, will line up under center a couple times a game to throw the defense off.
Defensively, Shankle will remain at safety covering the middle zone of South Stanly's Cover-3 defense. He started his junior season at cornerback, but teams refrained from throwing his direction. Little moved Shankle to safety during the playoffs and he responded with six interceptions in just three games.
"We're going to leave him in the middle all year this year," Little said. "[His job is] just to roam that middle."
Little has also adjusted South Stanly's punt return. As the 2007 season progressed, teams ceased punting to Shankle. This year, South Stanly will send an additional player back with Shankle to return the punt.
"We'll put in some wrinkles there as far as pitching [Shankle] the ball," Little said.
There is a lot of hype surrounding South Stanly this fall. The Rebel Bulls return 21 starters from a team that went to the third round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs. In addition to Shankle, South Stanly's roster includes other Division I prospects: linebacker James Watkins and lineman Anthony Stroud, and 2010 recruit quarterback Detric Allen.
"We're going to be pretty good," Shankle said. "Our defense is going to be pretty fast. If we follow the game plan we're going to be pretty good and make it to the state championship."
Little, though, is taking things a little slower.
"We have three steps," Little said. "We want to win the conference championship for one – we lost three games in conference by one point last year. We have a county cup – there are four teams in the county – we want to win the county cup. And of course we have the state championship."
Shankle, who lists Alabama, Clemson, Florida, North Carolina, and NC State as his final five, says two schools have begun to separate themselves from the pack.
"I probably have a tie – Carolina and NC State," he said. "Just playing in-state for a team that you grow up looking at, that's why they're my highest right now."
Originally, Shankle had hoped to be verbally committed by this point.
"I was looking to do it before the season, but it's probably going to be in the middle, towards the end," Shankle said. "I haven't really decided yet."
Shankle says he will "probably" take all five of his official visits before making a verbal commitment.
In the meantime, Shankle expects to make an unofficial visit to Tennessee and also attend the UNC-Virginia Tech game on September 20 in Chapel Hill.
"I just want to go to a game where Carolina is playing a top ranked team," Shankle said.
Shankle has thus far visited UNC more than any other school.
Although their preseason schedules have prohibited them from communicating recently, Shankle says he talks to Tommy Thigpen, his UNC primary recruiter, often.
"[He talks about] just me visiting Carolina more and making my decision," Shankle said.
"He said they want to use me at corner, but if they need me at receiver, they'll put me at receiver. He also said I'll be up for punt returner, too."