MADISON – Ball security is something Bradrick Shaw takes seriously. How seriously?
In his final three years of high school, which ended with three Class 7A state championships, Shaw never lost a fumble and said he never came close during a senior season when he rushed for 1,255 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
“It means a lot to me,” said Shaw.
The tailback position has been one of bad news this season for Wisconsin. Starting with four-star prospect Jordan Stevenson being denied admissions, UW hasn’t had starting tailback Corey Clement (a former four-star back) for virtually the entire season and now has to regroup after four-star tailback Antonio Williams announced his de-commitment from the program Wednesday.
For the three-star Shaw, who had numerous SEC offers when he committed to the Badgers, the opportunity for meaningful playing time is there for the taking in 2016.
Returning for a six season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers’ future.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Shaw: The toughest part is probable time management. In high school you get all the time you want, but here you have a schedule. You have to really lock in and stay focused on what you need to do. It’s getting to class on time, studying, learning the playbook, school work and trying to balance that all at one time. I feel that’s the biggest transition to college right now.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Shaw: It’s tough. It was tough. It’s a different speed. Everybody is bigger, faster and on the same level you are. You have to do something to separate yourself. I noticed that, and I’m trying to find something to separate myself from other players. Big Ten football is crazy. First time on the sideline for a Big Ten game and I was like wow. It was good to take notes from the sideline and learn.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?
Shaw: (Strength Coach Ross Kolodziej) conditioned us really well. We have been grinding all summer and all camp. He’s showed us how to maintain a good body and stay healthy. We’ve just been working on squats, bench presses, clings and just doing everything extra just to get extra work. I’ve been using the cold tubs to take care of my body and take advantage of that. It’s been working out pretty well right now.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what are your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Shaw: The biggest strength in my game right now is hard to tell. I try to be physical. I try not to back down on the football field, and I try not to be tentative. Lows, I just have to get bigger, stronger, faster and keep building myself. To be a great running back I have to work on my cuts, movement and be ready when they call my name.
How is Madison different than your home town of Hoover, AL?
Shaw: It’s really different. It’s colder up here. Alabama is more humid and hot. Madison has a city-like feel. Everything is more spaced out, but I love it up here. It’s been cool. I’ve met great people, along the way I’ve met great coaches and I have great teammates.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Shaw: I want to study business. I think that would be cool. Growing up I always wanted to run my own business.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Shaw: Man, that’s hard … The Terrace. I like that place a lot. I use to go out there a lot when I had a lot of free time to hang out, watch bands play and other stuff.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Shaw: I don’t have a least favorite place. I can’t think of one.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Shaw: I like to play video games and hang out with some of my buddies. I like to go on State Street, that’s another one of my favorite places, and just walk and have fun.
Who are you going to live with this fall? How are those relationships?
Shaw: I am living with Ty DeForest. It’s going good. He’s a great person. He’s a good roommate. We don’t have no problems or any trouble. We have deep conversations about life and football, so it’s good having him as a roommate.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Ty?
Shaw: I recently found out that he was color blind, so that was pretty funny. I can have some fun with that.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Shaw: My biggest support comes from my family at home. I try to talk to them every day. It’s nice to have my parents by my side when I’m going through school and football.
What’s your parents’ reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Shaw: They are excited about it. It’s hard earning a scholarship. I’m fortunate enough to have one, and they were supportive of me coming here. They loved it up here when they visited. They’ve only been here twice but both times when they came up here they really loved it. I love it up here, too.
What was the main reason why you committed to Wisconsin?
Shaw: What stood out the most about Wisconsin was the people. You get the same type of feel from a lot of colleges, but when I came in here for a visit, the people were really nice and the players were welcoming me in. That made the program on a different level. A lot of people are like myself with the same goals I have.
What is like putting on that Wisconsin jersey every day and getting a chance to run out on to the field for a home game?
Shaw: It was crazy. I was in the locker room just jamming and clapping my hands before the game. I was just excited to run out the tunnel, and when I did, seeing everybody in the student section, it was crazy. I looked out in the crowd and it was packed. From where I’m from you don’t see too many packed games like that. To have 80,000 fans watching was unbelievable.