Shankle hoping to get D-1 offer

It's getting to be that time when teams start to look at qualified JC players to fill in holes that they were unable to fill with high school players. One player that is ready and willing to go almost anywhere is Saddleback C Damien Shankle (6-2, 310) and he may be set to walk on with his childhood favorite if he doesn't receive any scholarship offers.

"I went to Northern Arizona a while ago and they've offered me," Shankle told "Portland State has also offered me, but I don't think I want to go to those schools. I want to play D-1 and those schools aren't at that level.

"It's nothing against them, but I want to play at the highest level. That motivates me to get better when I have that type of competition every day."

Shankle is hearing from San Diego State and Rutgers on a fairly regular basis and said he may eventually set up visits with them, but is unsure of where he stands with them.

"My favorite school growing up was Oregon so I've talked to their coaches about walking-on if I don't get a scholarship offer I want to take," Shankle said. "They said they'd love me to come up there and work on getting a scholarship, so we'll see what happens. I don't know what I'm going to do right now."

Shankle helped lead Saddleback to a third-ranked finish in the JC standings this year and said he and the offense worked really hard in the offseason to get the team focused and ready for a big season.

"We finished 11-1 and we had a terrific year," Shankle noted. "It was a lot of fun and we really came together as a team."

As a freshman in 2005, Shankle struggled at times with his duties at center, but he said hard work over the offseason paid off.

"I was a little erratic with my shotgun snaps as a freshman," Shankle said. "During the offseason I really worked hard on getting it back quickly but also placing it in the quarterback's hands so he doesn't really have to watch the ball.

"It seems like a minor thing, but it can mean the difference in if a quarterback is on time with his throw or not. You'd be surprised."

Shankle will have three years to play two wherever he ends up. We'll have more from him as letter of intent day draws closer.

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