Editor’s Note: Tony Softli is the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Director of College Recruiting and has spent more than 15 years serving as an NFL club front office executive evaluating college and pro players. Throughout the college football season, Softli will provide analysis on players featured on our Big Board. Below is an in-depth look at South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
I attended the Missouri vs. South Carolina game last Saturday evening, just a couple hundred miles from where I live, to introduce myself to several seniors on both teams. I returned home with a handful of game-time player evaluations and witnessed one of the gutsiest performances by a collegiate quarterback. I hadn’t seen an effort like it since 2007 when Boston College’s Matt Ryan (now with the Atlanta Falcons) orchestrated a 4th quarter comeback in a driving rain storm leaving the folks at Virginia Tech stunned.
South Carolina trailed Missouri 17-0 entering the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks’ quarterback Connor Shaw, who didn’t start the game due to nursing a left knee injury, came off the bench and led his team to a very impressive double-overtime road victory.
The right-handed quarterback showed very good arm strength to squeeze passes into tight windows and demonstrated excellent touch on his passes from the pocket or on the move. His mobility was very good despite wearing a knee brace, and he showed mental toughness to play at a high level while battling through knee sprain. He has good foot work, sets his feet quickly and shows good lateral movement, sliding to avoid pressure and throw accurate passes while on the move or from a variety of different situations. Poised in the pocket, Shaw stood tall under pressure with confidence. He made quick, smart and decisive decisions when finding both primary and secondary receivers. When given time, his short and intermediate accuracy was very good. He stuck the ball on his receivers or threw it to a spot where the defender could not make a play, allowing his teammates a chance to climb the ladder and secure the ball.
Shaw is a very good athlete who has the ability to run downhill with production and showcased outstanding clock management under pressure situation. He displayed leadership, courage, selflessness and the desire to win in a performance that very few will ever forget.
– Tony Softli
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Director of Recruiting