When Connor Shaw leaves the University of South Carolina and hopefully gets into the NFL via a very late pick or even undrafted, he won’t have a national or conference title to show. No BCS Bowls he played in. Nothing that really stands out. But digging deeper shows a remarkable collegiate career for a player that’s been injured quite a lot, and still made the most of what was given to him, highlighted by going 17-0 at home as a starter.
Some of his finest performances didn’t come when he started the game, like in the 27-24 overtime win over Missouri this season. South Carolina fell short of making it to the SEC championship game, finishing behind the Tigers in the SEC East, but had another 10-win season, as Shaw was a big part of the program’s best time ever.
He leaves with some impressive wins in his career, including the Outback Bowl game against Michigan last year, throwing a couple of touchdown passes and running for 96 yards. There was the win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl a year earlier, with Shaw being just as efficient, throwing two touchdown passes as well. Maybe most importantly for fans to hang on to, he won the two games he got to play against Clemson, throwing five touchdown passes, running for a couple and not throwing a single interception.
Shaw isn’t going to be someone the scouts are purposely looking for. He’s going to have to stand out in whatever Bowl game the Gamecocks get into and later on in the Senior Bowl. He doesn’t have his name being mentioned in mock drafts for the last couple of years like Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota and possibly A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murray. He offers leadership, intelligence and guts, things that often don’t show up in numbers, and will be harder to spot.
But even if he doesn’t make it in the NFL or simply becomes a career backup (which isn’t too bad either), Shaw made more of his College career than most expected of him, leaving a legacy of success behind him, hopefully carried on and taken to the next level by Dylan Thompson or whoever gets to play for him next season.