On Wednesday afternoon, Prattville (Ala.) defensive tackle Justin Shanks selected the Florida State Seminoles over Auburn and Tennessee. Warchant.com caught up with the 6-foot-3, 306 pound four-star prospect to find out more about his decision. We'll also breakdown what his commitment means for Florida State.
During Warchant.com's spring tour, Shanks indicated that Florida State was a strong option and he certainly wasn't a lock to stay in-state with one of the Alabama powers. Holding true to those statements, Shanks revealed some big news on Wednesday afternoon.
"I committed to Florida State. I think during the FSU camp was really when it hit me that this is the place I wanted to be at," he said. "I love the staff, players, and system they run, so it was a great fit. I was planning on waiting a while for my decision, but I just couldn't wait any longer. My teammate Austin Golson, who is also committed to FSU always tells me 'you just need to go ahead and commit to Florida State'. So I now I can say that I have and I couldn't be more excited or relieved that my recruitment is over."
If there is an early candidate for Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year, FSU assistant coach Dameyune Craig should probably be on that short list. Look at what he's done this year in the state of Alabama, hauling in three FSU commitments in the 2012 class alone. Craig is also responsible for top OL Alphonse Taylor and four-star DE Chris Casher, who both attend Davidson (Mobile, Ala.). Shanks' commitment might be even more impressive than the others considering that Prattville is known as a pipeline to Alabama or Auburn. But Shanks' allegiance was different from the start. He grew up a Seminole fan. His love for the Seminoles was further solidified when he visited the campus.
"I always feel like home whenever I'm there at Florida State. It's just like being in Prattville," he said. "I bond well with all the players, but even more so, it's a family there."
While the family atmosphere had an impact on his decision, another reason he chose the Seminoles was because of Odell Haggins. Shanks got an opportunity to experience his coaching style during the second session of Florida State's camp last week.
"I loved watching him coach because he's very hands on. He goes out of his way to not just tell you something, but also personally show you. He isn't afraid to bring that fire as a coach and has a lot of passion," he said. "I can't wait to play for him because that's the type of coach I want to play for. Coach Haggins has also produced some top NFL defensive tackles, so that also made a strong impression on me. He knows how to get players to the next level and that was one of the reasons for my decision."
His decision was further reinforced last week when he spent time with current commitments and a freshman player.
"I could see myself at Florida State both academically and athletically for the next four years. I actually got that vibe last weekend when I hung out with Mario Edwards, Dante Fowler Jr., Eddie Goldman, and even Devonta Freeman. I played Devonte's high school team last year (Miami Central), so we hit it off very well. With the other guys like Mario and Dante, I simply asked them why they committed to FSU. Mario said this is different than any place I've seen in Texas or wherever. Dante he said that its home and that's how I felt, so I knew this is where I needed to be."
So how does Florida State's newest commitment feel he fits into the defense?
"FSU has some great defensive ends - last year they led the nation in sacks. However, they struggled stopping the run because of depth or strong play with their defensive tackles. That's where I think I can immediately help them out - I can be a big time run stopper for that defense. That's my biggest strength - being able to control the line of scrimmage. So I plan on bringing that along with the defense."