Jared Shaw may play in the fall

Jared Shaw impressed coaches and fans alike throughout spring practice and topped it off with an impressive interception in the spring game. If Shaw continues to perform well, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward says you could see him on the field in the fall.

Stop calling him a walk-on.

Jared Shaw, the senior transfer from Newberry College, still has the title of walk-on but he would much rather be referred to as South Carolina Gamecock Jared Shaw.

"It's always in the back of your mind," Shaw said of the label. "Even with all the interviews and you see your name in the paper and it's always ‘walk-on Jared Shaw.' Sometimes you feel like ‘why do you have to be labeled a walk-on every time?' Every time someone walks up to me and is like ‘walk-on Jared Shaw,' I'm like ‘hey, I'm part of the team too.'"

Shaw earned high praise from his coaches throughout spring practice and capped it up with a tremendous interception in the annual Garnet and Black Spring Game.

"He played well," head coach Steve Spurrier said of Shaw's performance. "He got the one pick and defended well. Jared Shaw is just a good football player is the best way to describe him. He played some safety there later. Safety and corner, he can play them both."

Shaw was credited with one tackle during the spring game, but also broke up a potential touchdown pass and kept up with speedy receiver Damiere Byrd on a deep pass as a safety, something that the safeties failed to do on the opening play.

"I think Jared Shaw can help us," defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. "Jared Shaw has done it for 15 practices now. When the lights come on it doesn't affect him. He always makes me big plays. He made big plays in every scrimmage we've had and practice. I'm excited about Jared Shaw."

Shaw was much more critical on his performance in the spring than what his coaches and the media said about him.

"This spring, to me, I feel like I came out and made a few plays and then the next day I'd come out and make a few mistakes," Shaw said. "This spring I was trying to be more consistent as a player. I've been here for a while so it's time for me not to come out and make dumb mistakes like getting beat. I feel like I did improve a lot this spring. I had a lot of help from Coach (Grady) Brown and Coach Ward stayed on us. All the drills we did relate to everything we do. Overall I felt we got better as a unit and I felt like I got better as a player."

When looking at Shaw, there's not much about him that makes you think play-maker. At 5'10 and 179 pounds Shaw is one of the lighter players in the secondary, but give him some pads and a helmet and all he does is make plays.

"The thing that you like about a guy like Jared Shaw is that he is not ideal when it comes to recruiting a kid; whether it's speed-wise or size," Ward said. "Jared is a playmaker and he's not afraid to make plays. A lot of guys play tentative and that's not Jared. You tell Jared something or you coach him on a technique and that's what he's going to do. If you do that and you are disciplined, it doesn't matter how fast you are or how big you are, if you trust what your coach is telling you, then you're going to make plays. That's what Jared has done."

If Shaw wants to see the field in his final season at Carolina, he has some work to do. DeVonte Holloman will start at spur and Sharrod Golightly is the favorite to back Holloman up. Vic Hampton and Akeem Auguste are the favorites to start at corner and Cadarious Sanders, Jimmy Legree, and Ahmad Christian are potential back-ups. D.J. Swearinger and Brison Williams are likely the starters at safety with Kadetrix Marcus and Sheldon Royster the favorites to back them up. Still, the fact that Shaw is versatile enough to play multiple positions may allow him to see playing time outside of Nickel packages.

"I think Jared will play some corner," Ward said. "He's not going to be just a nickel situation. Jared has shown and if he continues to grow he will be in the rotation. I've always been a secondary guy that likes playing a lot of players because you're always one player away from playing if someone gets injured. Come August 30th, if Jared keeps doing what he's doing, he'll be in the rotation."

Spurrier likes to reward a walk-on senior with a scholarship for his senior season. Whether or not Shaw's spring performance is enough to earn a potential scholarship, it doesn't matter to him. He just wants to play.

"As a walk-on we all know it's our goal to earn a scholarship, but more than that I'd just love to play," Shaw said. "I would take my few reps on kickoff over a scholarship any day. Just to be out there on the field with my teammates and travel with them every week I'd take over money any day."

If he does earn that scholarship, nobody can call him a walk-on.

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