It's been considered simply a waste of time to even try getting kids out of there, and for the most part, Nebraska has conceded. Now it would seem things have started to change.
With Rudolph's connections to Ohio and the east coast, he's gone dipping into the forbidden well, and tried his hand at convincing kids to look a little farther south. Normally, when you are talking about Ohio prep stars, that means Notre Dame, maybe some of the Florida schools or perhaps even one of the teams in the SEC. Not Nebraska , though.
For Trotwood-Madison ( Trotwood , OH ) running back Michael Shaw, he knew about the Huskers before the offer he received a couple of days ago. But he didn't realize they knew about him. "Coach Rudolph was text messaging me and I was trying to call him, but we could never really hook up," Michael said. "He just wanted to let me know I had a written offer to play there.
"I was really surprised, because I haven't had any contact with them, and they told me that I was the number one back on their board. But I know about Nebraska . If you know college football, you have to know who Nebraska is."
Growing up in Big 10 country, Shaw had the obvious influence of the Buckeyes in his day-to-day life. Not hard to imagine why, as Ohio State wasn't just a perennial player in putting kids into the draft, but putting great seasons together in bunches. Shaw said that it would have been impossible not to be a Buckeye fan growing up, but now that he is, he sees his future for what it is.
"My dad and I are going to look for the best situation for me, and maybe that's not Ohio State ," Michael said. "They have a lot of great backs every year, and maybe they don't fit every need I have in my life. I mean at one point you think about what it would be like to play for them, but you can't think about that too long. If you do, you are letting all of these other great options pass you by."
Nebraska is one of those options now, joined by Iowa , Cincinnati , Eastern Michigan, Miami of Ohio and Buffalo . Those are some good offers, but Shaw said of his most recent one, that might very well be the best. "I love the competition in the Big 12 and Nebraska , you know that they always have a good defense and their fans sell out for every game," he said. "That's tradition, and you want to be part of that, because those kinds of teams are always competitive."
Shaw is a bit of a competitor himself. Playing the running back position last year, Shaw scored an impressive 21 touchdowns on 180 carries, while coming up just shy of 1,000 yards for the season. As a receiver he averaged 20 yards per catch while scoring once on the year. You'd be right to assume that Shaw is proud of that kind of versatility, but it doesn't stop there. "I like to block," he said. "I like to be back there and pick up the blitz which could give the quarterback maybe an extra second or two to make a play. I really look at myself as a complete back, and if you want to be a complete back, you have to do it all."
Whatever Shaw does this year, he'll be doing it at a different school, the Ohio prep star transferring to Trotwood from Kettering Archbishop Alter. The change is what it is, but Shaw makes no more out of it than what he has to. "It's a different team, but my goals are always that same, and that's to be as good as I can be and to help the team any way I can," he said. "Nobody is winning anything by themselves, so I am looking forward to working with this team to go out there and win some games."
This off-season, if there is such a thing nowadays in the life of a Division 1-A recruit, is one where Michael plans to be as active in exploration as he is in honing what he does. The attention has increased, the Husker offer simply the latest illustration in just how popular this Buckeye-state back has become. He's not resting his laurels waiting for others to come to him though. He's planning on heading out and seeing just what everyone has to offer.
"I plan on making as many trips over this spring and summer as I can to check out as many schools as I can," he said. "I want to see some of those who have offered me and see some other schools too. I know my dad and I want to get down to Nebraska and see just what that place is like. All that tradition, it will be a fun place to visit."
As to any timeframe behind his decision, Shaw takes the approach that when it feels right, that's when he'll decide. But as to any favorites, at least right now, he's focusing on two. " Iowa and Nebraska both are great schools with great academics, and I know both would be good places to be," he said. "I just have to explore all of my options and hopefully, I will have more as the summer goes on. It's not like I am greedy, but I'd rather have all the options in the world, so when I do make my choice, I know it will be exactly where I want to be."
Shaw said that he plans on attending a variety of junior days, but hasn't made any commitments to any camps outside of the Scout.com combine in Cincinnati next weekend. Brandon Moore, a 6-6, 243 pound tight end, and teammate of Shaw's, is also holding an offer, and is expected to participate in the combine as well.
Shaw is also participating in track, where he runs the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and 4x200m. Shaw reports a best 100m-time of 10.7, but says his goal is to get into the 10.5-range before he's done at Trotwood.
Watch Junior highlights of RB Michael Shaw
- Clip 1
- Clip 2