Connor Shaw: The draft report

Want to know more about the new Browns starter? Here's our complete 3,800 word report on Connor Shaw's collegiate career...

Connor Shaw

Quarterback

University of South Carolina Gamecocks

14

6:00.0–209

Flowery Branch, Georgia

Flowery Branch High School

OVERVIEW

Head coach Steve Spurrier would be the first to admit that he has a reputation for “being hard” on his quarterbacks throughout his career. More often than not, his starting signal-caller will not survive a season without some kid of benching or other reason for roster shuffling. Thanks to following the program set forth by his coach, Shaw managed to become the winningest quarterback in Gamecocks history, compiling a 27–5 record while working under center.

In fact, the only time Shaw has not been on the field since taking over the job prior to the sixth game of the 2011 season when former starter, Stephen Garcia was benched after a tough loss to Auburn, has been late in games with South Carolina well ahead, or, due to several injuries that he has battled back from the last two campaigns.

A bone bruise in his right shoulder vs. Vanderbilt in the 2012 season opener sidelined Shaw for the Gamecocks next game, vs. East Carolina. He returned, only to suffer a left foot stress fracture and ligament damage vs. Tennessee that limited his mobility the second half of the junior campaign. He would eventually undergo surgery after the January 1st clash vs. Michigan in the Outback Bowl that would keep him sidelined until 2013 August camp.

Shaw played the entire schedule as a senior, but again injured his right shoulder in the fourth game vs. Central Florida. Later in the year, he sprained his left knee trying to avoid a tackle in the Tennessee clash. Even with those injuries, he finished his career as the school’s record-holder for quarterbacks with 1,683 yards rushing (ranks 20th overall) that included seventeen touchdowns.

Shaw also impressed with his throwing ability. His 6,074 aerial yards rank as the fourth-best ever by a Gamecock signal-caller. His pass completion percentage of .6548 set the South Carolina all-time record and his 56 touchdown passes rank second on the school career-record chart. He also finished fourth in total offense (7,757), fifth in completed passes (480) and seventh in pass attempts (733).

Shaw is a dual-threat quarterback who first caught the South Carolina coaching staff’s attention during his playing days at Flowery Branch (Ga.) High School, where he was coached by his father, Lee. He did not take over quarterback duties until his junior campaign, starring first as a standout wide receiver during his sophomore season. Once he stepped behind center, recruiters recognized a player that did not have ideal size for the position, but was a true field general who commanded complete respect.

Shaw does not have a cannon for an arm, but evident by his pass completion percentage at South Carolina, he displayed very good accuracy and mobility under his father’s watchful eye in prep action. He has that knack for keeping plays alive and is sort of a coach on the field, as he knows all of his teammates’ assignments. He showed college recruiters that he has the legs to create as a ball carrier, yet does a very good job of keeping his eyes downfield – all traits that made him a perfect fit for Spurrier’s spread offense.

After scoring fifteen times and gaining over 1,200 yards as a split end in 2008, Shaw shifted to quarterback for his junior season at Flowery Branch High. He led the Falcons to a second-place finish in the Class AAA Division, as he passed for 2,200 yards and 22 scores while rushing for 941 yards and eleven touchdowns. The following year, he connected on thirty touchdown tosses and 3,100 aerial yards while tossing only six interceptions. He also totaled 800 yards with seventeen more scores on the ground.

Shaw received a three-star prospect grade from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the 19th-best dual-threat quarterback in the nation, ranking him 47th on their Georgia Top 75 list. Scout.com also placed a three-star prospect tag on the senior and called him the nation’s 31st-best quarterback. Having signed his letter of intent to play at South Carolina on April 11th, 2009, he would enroll at South Carolina in January, 2010, having graduated early from high school a month prior.

That early enrollment at South Carolina allowed Shaw to become comfortable with coach Spurrier’s system, as he would see action in nine games as a true freshman, serving as Stephen Garcia’s primary backup. He hit on 69.7% of his throws (23-of–33) for 223 yards and a touchdown in 2010, showing to be fleet-of-foot with 165 yards on 32 carries (5.2 ypc).

Shaw appeared in ten games as a sophomore, but saw limited action early in the 2011 season. When Stephen Garcia was benched due to inconsistent play, the Flowery Branch product took over the helm, helping the Gamecocks win seven of his eight games in the starting lineup, including winning his first four games with the first unit (just the third SC quarterback to begin his starting career with four wins).

His pass completion percentage of .654 ranks fourth-best on the school season-record chart, as he tallied 1,448 yards with fourteen touchdowns on 123-of–188 tosses. He also found the end zone eight times as a ball carrier, averaging 3.9 yards per attempt. Off the field, he also excelled in the classroom, receiving Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll recognition.

The 2012 season marked Shaw’s first as a full-time starter, but he missed a pair of starting assignments due to injuries. He still set the school season-record by completing 67.5% of his passes (154-of–228), tying for sixth on the SC annual chart with seventeen touchdown tosses. His 2,391 yards in total offense rank sixth in Sc annals. He also finished third in the league and tenth in the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 158.07.

As a senior, Shaw became the only player in school history to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a career. He earned SEC Player of the Week honors three times, producing the fifth-best season by a Gamecock behind his 3,005 yards in total offense. His 2,447 aerial yards took over the eighth spot on the SC annual record list, as he hit on 180-of–284 tosses (63.4%). His 24 touchdown passes rank as the second-highest in a season by a Gamecock. His accuracy allowed him to finish tenth in the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 162.9.

CAREER NOTES

Shaw appeared in 43 games, starting 31 contests, as he became the winningest quarter-back in school history after compiling a 27–5 record… Completed 480-of–733 passes (65.48%) for 6,074 yards, 56 touchdowns and only sixteen interceptions… Set the school career-record for quarterbacks with 1,683 yards (ranks 20th on the SC overall record chart) and seventeen touchdowns on 452 carries (3.72 ypc)… Gained 7,757 yards in total offense on 1,185 plays, an average of 180.4 yards per game… Also turned his first career reception into a 9-yard touchdown… School Career-Record Results… Shaw ranks fourth in school history with 6,074 yards passing, topped by Todd Ellis (9,953; 1986–89), Steve Taneyhill (8,782; 1992–95) and Stephen Garcia (7,597; 2008–11)… His 27 victories topped the previous school record of 24 by Todd Ellis… His 733 pass attempts placed seventh on the Gamecock all-time chart, while his 480 completions rank fifth… His pass completion percentage of .6548 shattered the old school record of .6071 by Blake Mitchell (482-of–794; 2004–07). The only other South Carolina quarterback to complete 60% of his passes was Steve Taneyhill (.6048; 753-of–1,245; 1992–95)… With 56 touchdowns, he joined Taneyhill (62) as the only Gamecocks to throw for at least fifty touchdowns in a career.

SEASON NOTES

One of the most impressive season figures recorded by a quarterback in 2013 was Shaw’s lack of interception passes, as only one of his 284 pass attempts was picked off. That is the lowest total for a Southeastern Conference quarterback that threw at least 100 passes in a season. That was also the lowest figure by an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision passer (minimum of 150 attempts) since Virginia’s Matt Blundin did not have any of his 224 tosses picked off in 1991… School Season-Record Results… Shaw’s career-high 2,447 yards passing in 2013 is the eighth-best total by a Gamecock in a season… Holds the school annual record with a pass completion percentage of .6754 in 2012, topping the previous mark of .671 by Steve Taneyhill in 1995. His completion percentage of .6543 in 2011 rank fourth and .6338 in 2013 rank eighth on the SC season-record list… His career-high 180 pass completions in 2013 is the tenth-best season mark at South Carolina… Tied Blake Mitchell (2005) and Stephen Garcia (2009) for seventh on the school annual record chart with seventeen touchdown passes in 2012… His 22 touchdown tosses in 2013 rank second on that season list, surpassed by Steve Taneyhill’s 29 in 1995… The only other seasons that a South Carolina quarterback threw twenty touchdowns was Taneyhill in 1994 (20) and Stephen Garcia in 2010 (20)… Recorded the fifth (3,005 in 2013) and eighth-best (2,391 in 2012) total offense marks on the SC season-record list.

GAME NOTES

Shaw’s 356 yards passing vs. Tennessee in 2010 tied Bobby Fuller (vs. North Carolina State in 1990) for the tenth-best game total in school history… His 389 yards in total offense vs. Tennessee in 2012 rank fifth on the SC game chart… Holds the school record with a pass completion percentage of .952 (20-of–21) in the 2012 Missouri game. The old record was .941 (16-of–17) by Gordon Beckham vs. North Carolina in 1981… Also holds the SC record by completing twenty consecutive passes in that 2012 Missouri contest… His four touchdown passes in both the 2011 Kentucky and 2013 Mississippi State games are tied for sixth-best in school annals.

SEASON ANALYSIS

2013 SEASON

Shaw was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a semi-finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award… The All-Southeastern Conference third-team choice by The NFL Draft Report earned Athlon Sports National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, in addition to being named Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week and Manning Award National Player of the Week for his performance vs. Missouri… Played in all thirteen games, missing just one start (vs. Missouri, due to a left knee sprain suffered the previous week vs. Tennessee), but came off the bench to lead the Gamecocks for a stunning 27–24 overtime victory… Completed 180-of–284 passes (63.38%) for 2,447 yards, and 24 touchdowns, as he only threw one interception, setting the Southeastern Conference season-record. It was also the lowest amount of pass thefts by a quarterback attempting at least 150 passes in a season since Matt Blundin of Virginia did not have any of his 224 attempts intercepted during the 1991 schedule… Finished second on the team with 558 yards and six touch-downs on 154 carries (3.62 ypc)… Caught a pass for a 9-yard touchdown and gained 3,005 yards in total offense, the fifth-highest season total in school annals… Ranked tenth in the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 162.9, as his 24 touchdown tosses ranked 23rd in the NCAA FBS ranks… Shaw came out on fire connecting with sophomore Shaw Roland for a 65-yard touchdown on South Carolina’s initial drive of the game vs. North Carolina in the season opener… He struggled with staying in the pocket early against Georgia, but got it together after that and had possibly his best game on the road. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 16 times for 75 yards. He suffered a key fumble at the Georgia 25 in the third quarter when South Carolina was driving for a go-ahead score… Shaw left the Central Florida game during the Gamecocks’ opening series after he landed awkwardly on his right shoulder during a run with 6:34 left in the first quarter. Shaw was dragged to the ground by UCF linebacker Terrance Plummer and fumbled. The Knights recovered the ball and Shaw came up holding his shoulder. He was taken to the locker room and replaced by backup Dylan Thompson on the next series. Shaw returned to the sideline wearing a sling and ice pack… Shaw went around left end for a 2-yard scoring run with 8:05 remaining vs. Kentucky… He hit on 19-of–28 chances for 219 yards and three touchdowns, adding another score on the ground vs. Arkansas… Shaw came off the bench and threw for three touchdowns and 201 yards on 20-of–29 tries to pull out an overtime victory over Missouri, thus ending the Tigers’ hopes for playing for the national championship… He followed by tying his career-high with four scoring strikes among his 10-of–20 passes for 147 yards vs. Mississippi State… Behind five touchdowns from Shaw, South Carolina claimed a 34–24 victory over Wisconsin in the 2014 Capital One Bowl. The Capital One Bowl MVP accounted for 369 yards of offense, going 22-for–25 in the air for 312 yards and three touchdowns while also running for 48 yards on 16 carries and a score. Shaw also caught a touchdown pass for nine yards, finishing his Gamecock career in fourth on the career passing charts with 6,074 yards, while he holds the South Carolina record with 27 wins as a starting quarterback. The 312 passing yards ranks as the most during a single game in his senior season.

2012 SEASON

Shaw started each of the eleven games he played in, missing the East Carolina and Clemson contests… Was bothered the second half of the a right shoulder bone bruise that he suffered vs. Vanderbilt and then suffered a left foot stress fracture and two ligament sprains vs. Tennessee… Playing through the injuries, he still managed to earn a pair of Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors (vs. Tennessee and Missouri), in addition to setting the school season-record with a pass completion percentage of .6754, gaining 1,956 yards via 154-of–228 tosses, recording seventeen touchdowns (tied for seventh on the school season-record list), along with throwing seven interceptions… Scored three more times on 131 carries for 435 yards (3.32 ypc)… Ranked third in the SEC and tenth in the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 158.07… Rushed

14 times for 92 yards in the season opening win at Vanderbilt, but suffered a right shoulder injury in that contest and did not play in Week Two vs. East Carolina…Earned SEC co-Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts vs. Missouri, as he set a school record by completing 20-consecutive passes and finished the contest 20-for–21 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. His pass completion percentage of .952 also established a school game record. In that contest, he carried a dozen times for 41 yards…Completed 15-of–18 passes for 148 yards and two scores in the win at Kentucky, as he also rushed 19 times for 76 yards in that contest…Connected on 35-of–39 passes in the two game stretch vs. Mizzou and Kentucky…Was 6-of–10 for 162 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 78 yards and a score in the Gamecocks’ 35–7 dismantling of Georgia…Named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win over Tennessee, as he hit on 22-of–32 passes for a career-high 356 yards with three touchdowns. He also carried 18 times for 33 yards and a score…Completed 14-of–22 passes for 272 yards and two touch-downs and also had a 10-yard scoring scamper in the win over Arkansas…Did not play in the regular season finale vs. Clemson due to a foot injury, but went 18-for–26 for 224 yards and two touchdowns in the Outback Bowl win over Michigan, as he also rushed for 96 yards in that contest including a 64-yard burst, the longest of his career.

2011 SEASON

The sophomore signal-caller completed 65.43 percent of his passes (123–188) for 1,448 yards with fourteen touchdowns and six interceptions after taking over the starting job in the team’s sixth game…Also rushed 135 times for 525 yards (3.89 ypc) with eight scores… Became just the third Gamecock quarterback since 1971 to open his career with four straight wins, joining Steve Taneyhill (1992) and Chris Smelley (2007)…Was shaky in his debut vs. East Carolina, completing 3-of–9 passes for 21 yards and rushing seven times for 26 yards in one quarter of action, but in his second career start, vs. Kentucky, he responded with an SEC Offensive Player of the Week performance, completing 26-of–39 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns. The four touchdown passes were the most for a Gamecock quarterback since Blake Mitchell in 2006…Hit on 20-of–28 passes for 155 yards with one touchdown and two picks in his first road start at Mississippi State…Was 10-of–18 for 87 yards with one score and one interception at Tennessee, but also rushed 16 times for 64 yards and a touchdown… Completed 16-of–25 passes for 128 yards with an interception and ran for two touchdowns at Arkansas before leaving the game with a concussion…Had an efficient 16-of–18 performance, throwing for 217 yards and three touchdowns against The Citadel, and also rushed 11 times for 90 yards, including a then career-long 60-yard touchdown run…Named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week and named the Ernest Brooks Offensive MVP award for his performance against Clemson when he completed 14-of–20 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns and ran 19 times for a career-high 107 yards. In that game, he recorded his two longest completions off the regular season, a 49-yard scoring strike to Bruce Ellington and a 55-yard bomb to Rory Anderson…Connected on a career-best 78 yard strike to Alshon Jeffery in the Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska and also found Jeffery on a 51-yard “Hail Mary” as time expired in the first half. He went on to complete 11-of–17 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 19 times for 42 yards and another score in leading the Gamecocks to their first bowl win since 2006… Named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

2010 SEASON

The true freshman quarterback graduated from high school early to enroll at South Carolina in January… Quickly worked his way up the depth chart and entered the season listed on the second team behind Stephen Garcia…Played in nine games, as he completed 69.7 percent of his passes (23-of–33) for 223 yards…Was the team’s fourth-leading rusher, gaining 165 yards on 32 carries.

INJURY REPORT

2012 Season… Shaw was injured in the ninth-ranked Gamecocks’ season-opening, 17–13 victory at Vanderbilt. He was diagnosed with a deep bone bruise in his right shoulder, but doctors stated that his shoulder joint. He would sit out the next week vs. East Carolina… Shaw returned to action vs. Alabama-Birmingham, but was again knocked out of a game after hurting his throwing shoulder. Shaw took a hard hit to his right shoulder just after releasing a 20-yard pass to Bruce Ellington late in the second quarter. The junior walked off the field with his arm hanging limp. Athletic officials say Shaw aggravated the bruise he suffered in the Gamecocks 17–13 season opening win over Vanderbilt. It was later discovered that he had a hairline fracture in his throwing shoulder… He left the Arkansas contest after suffering a concussion… Shaw suffered a stress fracture and damage to two ligaments in his left foot on the final play of the Tennessee clash. Pain medication helped him play through the injury, but he was forced to sit out the regular-season finale vs. Clemson and the fourth quarter of the Outback Bow. He would undergo foot surgery right after the bowl clash… Shaw missed all of 2013 spring practice following his surgery but was cleared for full participation in practice at the end of May.

2013 Season… Shaw sprained his right shoulder in a 28–25 win over Central Florida. He left the game during the Gamecocks’ opening series after he landed awkwardly on his shoulder during a run with 6:34 left in the first quarter. Shaw was dragged to the ground by UCF linebacker Terrance Plummer and fumbled. The Knights recovered the ball and Shaw came up holding his shoulder. He was taken to the locker room and replaced by backup Dylan Thompson on the next series. Shaw returned to the sideline wearing a sling and ice pack… Shaw suffered a left knee sprain vs. Tennessee. He did not start the next game vs. Missouri, but came off the bench to rally South Carolina to a 27–24 overtime victory over the Tigers.

AGILITY TESTS

4.53 in the 40-yard dash… 1.56 10-yard dash… 2.61 20-yard dash… 4.20 20-yard shuttle…

7.19 three-cone drill… 33 ½-inch vertical jump… 9’–5” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times… 9 1/8-inch arm length… 29 ½-inch hands… 71 5/8-inch wingspan.

HIGH SCHOOL

Shaw was a standout dual-threat quarterback at Flowery Branch (Ga.) High School, playing football for his father, Lee Shaw… Did not take over quarterback duties until his junior campaign, starring first as a standout wide receiver during his sophomore season, scoring fifteen times and gaining over 1,200 yards as a split end in 2008… Shifted to quarterback for his junior season, leading the Falcons to a second-place finish in the Class AAA Division, as he passed for 2,200 yards and 22 scores while rushing for 941 yards and eleven touchdowns… The following year, he connected on thirty touchdown tosses and 3,100 aerial yards while tossing only six interceptions. He also totaled 800 yards with seventeen more scores on the ground… Received a three-star prospect grade from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the 19th-best dual-threat quarterback in the nation, ranking him 47th on their Georgia Top 75 list… Scout.com also placed a three-star prospect tag on the senior and called him the nation’s 31st-best quarterback.

PERSONAL

Shaw graduated in December, 2013, with a degree in sport and entertainment management… Brother, Jaybo, was Connor’s teammate at Flowery Branch High School. Jaybo then enrolled as a quarterback at Georgia Tech but transferred to Georgia Southern in 2010… Father, Lee, was coached Connor and Jaybo at Flowery Branch High, played football at Western Carolina and is still a high school coach in Georgia…Mother, Dawn, played basketball at North Georgia…Born 9/19/91 in Flowery Branch, Georgia.


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