Austin Shanks making his mark on the Ohio State mens lacrosse after
OSU junior attacker Austin Shanks (11) during a game against Hofstra on March 12 in Hempstead, New York. Credit: Courtesy of OSUThere are many challenges that can come with transferring schools. Adjusting to different classes, different people and a different environment in general can be quite stressful for a transfer student. Add on the inherent responsibilities that come with being a student-athlete, and those problems only multiply.But the transition for junior attacker Austin Shanks of the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team has been relatively smooth because of the help of those he joined in the program.“Everyone all around cares about me doing well,” Shanks said.There is a difference between coming in to a new school as a freshman and arriving as a transfer, OSU coach Nick Myers said, but Shanks has handled it well.“I think there’s definitely a degree of catch up any time you’ve missed a couple of years,” Myers said. “He’s fit in well with his classmates, (and) the guys really like him.”Shanks played his first two years of college lacrosse at Bellarmine, where he was second on the team in points his freshman year and first his sophomore year.After deciding to transfer following his sophomore year, Shanks said the coaching staff at OSU is what led him to decide to become a Buckeye.“The coaches here really care about the players,” Shanks said. “It’s not just lacrosse — they care about our lacrosse, they care about our academics, they care about us as people (and) becoming men.”Coming into the program, Shanks said that he “absolutely” needed to prove himself to the players and coaches. Myers saw this in early-season practices and continues to see room for improvement.“I don’t think he’s played his best game as a Buckeye yet by any means,” Myers said. “He’s starting to expand his game more. When he got here, he was not much of a shooter outside of 10 yards. Now he’s got a 12- to 13-yard range, which is exciting.”Shanks said the change from Bellarmine to OSU, a student-body population difference of over 50,000, was one thing that was especially jarring to him. Another significant change was the style of offense OSU has in place.“The offense here — the lacrosse in general — is very structured, and I really like that,” he said. “I came from more of a freestyle, a kind of ‘go play’ kind of team, and here it’s a lot more structured.”Shanks has flourished so far in his new offense. He is the only player on that side of the ball to have started every game. The Whitby, Ontario, native also leads the team with 14 assists and 26 points, and he is tied for fourth on the team with 12 goals.“He’s got good finishing touch but he also sees the field well, so I think those things are a really nice combination around the guys that we have,” Myers said.The Scarlet and Gray are currently in the midst of a six-game losing streak. After recently falling to No. 14 Johns Hopkins on Saturday and with an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament out of reach, Shanks said the focus is playing the best lacrosse they are able to play.“We have nothing to prove to anyone else,” Shanks said. “Just go out, prove to ourselves or the symbol in front of the jersey, and just start winning some games.”OSU’s next game is set to come on Saturday in the annual Showdown in the Shoe against Michigan. That contest is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at Ohio Stadium before the OSU football team’s spring game.