Shabazz talks Vandy and more

Taariq Shabazz

Vanderbilt is making more inroads in the state of Georgia and recently offered Taariq Shabazz, a 6-foot-2, 238-pound defensive lineman from Kennesaw Mountain High School in the plentiful Atlanta area. Shabazz, who is up to 10 D-1 offers, says he's taking his time in the recruiting process, but does like what he's heard about the upstart Commodore program.

Vanderbilt is making more inroads in the state of Georgia and recently offered Taariq Shabazz, a 6-foot-2, 238-pound defensive lineman from Kennesaw Mountain High School in the plentiful Atlanta area. Shabazz, who is up to 10 D-1 offers, says he's taking his time in the recruiting process, but does like what he's heard about the upstart Commodore program.

"It was the second week of May when I received Vanderbilt's offer from Coach Bankins," Shabazz told VandyMania.com. "Mainly, he said they liked my pass rushing ability. They offered me at defensive end, but I have received some offers at outside linebacker in a 3-4. I've just really started to take a closer look at them, but I do like that they have strong academics. I watched their spring game from my house and was very impressed with the way they looked. I haven't been able to make any campus visits this spring, but I'm hoping to go to Vanderbilt sometime over the summer, probably in July for their camp."

In his junior season, his first as a starter for the Mustangs, Shabazz wreaked havoc in opposing backfields in Georgia Class 6A and was named first team All-Cobb County.

"My junior season was pretty good," he said. "I worked hard in the off-season. I ended up with 49 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and four and a half sacks.

"This spring I felt like I made improvements in my passing rushing and my run stopping. We had an inner-squad game at the end but I playing sparingly due to a hamstring pull. I'm hoping we can get back to the playoffs after a 4-6 season and I'm just looking to have a strong finish to my high school career."

Shabazz holds offers from Cincinnati, Duke, East Carolina, Georgia State, Southern Miss, Vanderbilt, and most recently, UCF. He says he's hoping to have things sorted out by summer's end.

"I'd like to be committed somewhere by August but I'm not sure," said Shabazz. "I'd have to say I'm pretty wide open. Academics are my top priority. Then, you know, it's about finding the school that fits me the best. I'd like to play defensive end in a 4-3, but I'm open to playing linebacker even though I haven't played it before."

Kennesaw Mountain has just won six games in the past four seasons. The football program is entering its 13th season in 2012 and has yet to make a playoff appearance. Shabazz and his fellow senior teammates are hoping this will be their breakthrough year.

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