Tim Shaw Aiming High

Back at his natural position of linebacker, the Penn State veteran is looking to make serious noise at the NFL Combine. See how, where and with whom Shaw is working out as he prepares to make a statement for professional scouts.

In helping Penn State to a 20-10 upset over Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, Tim Shaw had seven tackles, a pair of stops behind the line and a dramatic sack of Volunteer quarterback Erik Ainge.

As Shaw left the soggy field in Tampa following his final college game, it was a shame no one asked where he was going next.

He was, after all, headed to Disney World.

Shaw did not go to Orlando to celebrate the big win over Tennessee, but rather to begin preparing for his NFL career. Roughly two weeks after the bowl, Shaw arrived at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex to take part in the Tom Shaw (no relation) Performance Enhancement program.

He will call the complex home until mid-February, when he will take a very short break to attend his brother's wedding before heading to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Feb. 21-27. Everything he does between now and then will be focused on improving his ability to shine in the tests he'll have to perform at the Combine, which in turn will impact his stock in the April 28-29 NFL Draft.

“Things are going great overall and I'm really looking forward to this next month, just banging it out and getting ready for the Combine,” Shaw said.

The firm representing Shaw, Wisconsin-based X-A-M Sports, is picking up the tab for the training, which runs $750 per week plus living expenses. But agent Scott Smith feels it is a great investment, considering the program has helped players such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Michael Vick and PSU's Michael Robinson prepare for the Combine.

Fellow Nittany Lions Tony Hunt and Levi Brown are both in Orlando this year, too. The reason Tom Shaw is able to draw such an impressive list of clients?

“If you really want to break it down, they primary thing they work on is explosive power,” Smith explained. “That's being explosive whether you're coming out of your stance in a 40-yard dash, or whether you are doing the vertical jump or broad jump. They work on you becoming a more explosive football player.”

Considering Tim Shaw has always tested well in Combine-style events like the 40-yard dash and vertical jump — he ran a 4.4 40 and jumped 34.8 inches while in high school, and ran a 4.42 40 at PSU last spring — it is scary to think what he might uncork in Indianapolis after going through specialized training. Though it took some prodding for him to admit his targets, he eventually did, saying “my goal is to run something in the low 4.4s. I've done it before. … and I'd like to get up to 37 or 38 inches. I think that's reachable for me.”

Later, he added, “You never want to get overconfident. But I am confident in what I can do. I set those goals to improve and push myself.”

“Tom [Shaw] has been around the block,” Smith said. “And on the first day, he was commenting on how athletic and quick Tim is. He's going to have a very positive impact at the Combine and at Penn State's Pro Day [March 22].”

Of greater concern to Tim Shaw is his footwork. After two seasons of starting at linebacker at Penn State, the 6-foot-1, 234-pounder moved to defensive end this year at the request of the Nittany Lion staff. The idea was to get the team's best athletes on the field, including talented sophomore linebacker Sean Lee, who was not heavy enough to play end.

And it worked. Though PSU lost its entire starting secondary and three quarters of its starting defensive line from 2005, the rebuilt unit allowed fewer yards and points per game in 2006. And while Shaw was dwarfed by many of the offensive tackles he faced, he still finished sixth on the team in tackles (44) and second with a career-high seven sacks.

Since he projects as a linebacker in the NFL, Shaw is anxious to prove he can still play the position.

“I'm looking to improve everything, but the major things are footwork and drills,” he said. “When they ask me to do these linebacker drills and pass drops, I want to be outstanding. So I'm working on pass drops, and footwork when I'm shuffling, moving and running. I'm turning and opening up my hips when moving laterally or backpedaling. I'm breaking on the ball quicker. Just things like that.”

Tim Shaw working out.

Shaw actually had a chance to play linebacker again when he was invited to play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu Jan. 14. He started at middle linebacker for the winning Aina [East] team, and drew praise from defensive coach Rubin Carter for “doing a great job” in the game and the practices leading up to it.

“The point he needed to make with NFL teams is that he still has the athleticism and mobility to play linebacker despite the fact he played more of a defensive end role this year,” Smith said. “He needed to sort of reinforce that with the scouts.”

Yet in the big picture, Smith does not believe the season spent at defensive end will hurt his client.

“I think it showed his versatility and it showed he's a team player,” Smith said. “It showed he goes out there with a blue-collar work ethic and he's willing to do what it takes to help his team win. They'll know they've got a guy who will do whatever they need him to do and whatever they ask him to do, so that goes a long way.”

Shaw's dedication to winning was apparent in 2006, with the position change and the way he handled his impending pro career. Agents began phoning after his junior season to make preliminary contact. But once preseason practice hit, he put all such discussions on the back burner.

“When it got to the season, I told all agents I didn't want to talk, I wanted to focus on football,” Shaw said. “So everyone had to talk to my dad. He went through the whole screening process and whittled things down. He checked references, he did all that stuff for me. So when the season was over, I had about seven or eight [agents] left.”

Shaw spent the three weeks between the regular-season finale against Michigan State and the start of PSU's practices for the bowl game narrowing that list even further.

“After not talking with them during the season, it was difficult,” Shaw said. “I pretty much had to buckle down and make a decision. It was a tough decision, but I think I went about it the right way and eventually chose the right guy.”

He signed with X-A-M and Smith shortly after the bowl game, so he could dive right into preparing for the Combine. Shaw is one of only five Nittany Lions invited to the event — along with Brown, Hunt, defensive tackle Jay Alford and fellow linebacker Paul Posluszny.

Of that group, he'll enter the Combine with the least amount of fanfare. But Shaw never had any doubt he'd be invited to Indy.

“I always thought it would be a slam dunk, just in the way I look at myself,” he said. “I assumed I'd be invited. Maybe I took that lightly. But I was pleased to get the invite. It's going to help me.”

One of the more affable Nittany Lions, Shaw figures to be a hit in one-on-one meetings with pro scouts and coaches. And, with a marketing degree already in hand and three Academic All-Big Ten honors on his resume, he figures to score well on the Wunderlich test.

“Tim's character and maturity and dedication to the job at hand, those qualities are going to come out at the Combine when he has a chance to meet with teams,” Smith said.

But the agent and the player both know that character and intelligence only take you so far in the eyes of pro personnel types. You must be able to produce on the field, as well.

“I want to be impressive in the regular combine drills,” Shaw said. “The 40, the shuttle, things like that. I want to turn some heads.”

“When it comes to athletic ability and quickness and having good initial burst, he's going to be right up there with the top linebackers in the country,” Smith added. “That's the thing that's going to be a pleasant surprise to teams when he gets to the combine.”


To learn more about the Tom Shaw Performance Enhancement program, check out the video at THIS LINK.. The video include an interview with former Lion Michael Robinson.

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