A new face to the Cal RB room to add experience, veteran leadership, and depth.
Wisconsin's football program has been a power-running program under Paul Chryst. Shaw fit the Chryst mold - a bull of a north-south runner who can run in behind Wisconsin's jumbo formations. In 2016, Shaw was a touted freshman, but was third string behind current NFL running back Corey Clement. Shaw shared backup time with another current NFL RB Dare Ogunbowale. Shaw does well, but remains a backup. 2016 finishes with a Wisconsin victory in the Cotton Bowl and a #9 ranking.
Shaw enters into 2017 spring training as the presumptive starter, but is pushed by Chris James and incoming freshman Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin (#9) names Shaw as the starter for the season against Utah State, edging out Chris James. The first half starts off slow for Wisconsin as their Oline can't handle the aggressive Utah State defense. QB Hornibook gets pressured into inaccurate passes and fumbling deep in his own territory. Wisconsin falls behind 0-10. Utah State stacks the line for Wisconsin's runners - so Shaw and then James can only break off a few yards per run. The second half comes around - the oline starts to gel better. Hornibrook gets time to throw and, more importantly, Jonathan Taylor gets his first touches. Chris James fumbles at a critical time, so he sits. Shaw and Taylor share second half touches with similar results. Late in the 4th quarter, Shaw exits the game with a "leg injury". It is easy to associate the better Wisconsin performance to Taylor's playing time.
Taylor starts the next game against cupcake FAU. Once again, the entire Wisconsin team (except Jonathan Taylor) struggle to make distance over an inferior opponent. But the difference this time is that Jonathan Taylor breaks out a fantastic game and saves Wisconsin with 223 yards. It is obvious that Taylor is a talent, so he never relinquished the starting role again.
So 2017 finishes out and Shaw only plays sparingly in relief when games are already won. Opponents know Wisconsin is going to run in the waning minutes, so Shaw does not have great stats. 96 touches with an average of 3.8 yards after previously averaging 5.2 yards the previous year. At the end of the season, Shaw blows out his ACL, so 2018 is a lost season for Shaw.
No 2019 comes around. Taylor is a legend at Wisconsin and backup touches are given to Garret Kroshek (Jr) and freshman battering ram Makia Watson. Coming back from an ACL can be tough as sometimes you lose a step. Shaw's yards are skewed by a single long run, but seems to be more of the same as 2017.
So really the question will be how will Shaw do more in a pro-system with a more balanced attacked? I don't know. His running style reminds me of Vic Enwere. North/South power runner. If there's a knock against Shaw - it's the same as Enwere. Frequently shuffles to find a cutback or waiting for a lane to develop that never happens, so averages one yard less per carry because he's looking to break one. It could very well be that he'll find more running space when not in a Paul Chryst system. But I think he looks more like a good back-up to take some wear-and-tear off of Brown when you need 3.5 yards in a cloud of dust. Don't get me wrong. I think that is a valuable asset to have - something we seriously lacked last year as wear-and-tear beat up our RBs.
He only has 1 year to play at Cal, no?
Welcome Bradrick and GO Bears!
Interesting. Sounds like a great fit for Cal.