Name: Michael Shaw
Weight: 181 lbs.
High school: Trotwood-Madison High School in Trotwood, OH
Jersey number: #20
Last year: I ranked Shaw #29 and said he’d be the starting running back in 2010. He had 42 carries for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as 2 catches for 5 yards.
Shaw seems to be almost the spitting image of the graduated Carlos Brown. Both are thinly built, fast, lack even adequate power, catch the ball well, and get injured when the wind blows. In the 2009 Eastern Michigan game, Carlos Brown was tackled by a fingertip on what looked to be a long TD run. Also in the 2009 EMU game, Michael Shaw was tackled by a safety who grabbed a fistful of jersey on what looked to be a long TD run. Rarely has the passing of the torch been so obvious, unless you’re passing an actual torch.
One thing Shaw has in spades is speed. He was a champion sprinter in high school, and he showed off that speed with a 48-yard run against Minnesota in 2008. Unfortunately, he pulled his groin and has had various nagging injuries since then. When completely healthy, he’s a big play waiting to happen. There’s definitely a role for him on this team. In fact, I’d like to see him get some reps at receiver. Oddly enough, he was listed as a wide receiver on the roster for his first two seasons on campus, but rarely (if ever) lined up anywhere but in the backfield. Now that he’s shown us his inability to break tackles . . . he’s listed as a running back. This kid could be excellent at running a bubble screen and getting out on the edge. Regardless, he’s a decent option at superback, but a good Big Ten team has to have a running back who can break few tackles. That’s why Shaw will be watching Michael Cox get the majority of the handoffs this season.
Prediction for 2010: Backup superback; 85 carries, 500 yards, 5 touchdowns
Addendum: There have been rumors floating over the past few days that Shaw may be ineligible for the 2010 season. He’s finishing up summer school in the next two weeks. As a potential starter, I can’t imagine he would do anything less than pass his class(es) with adequate grades to play. But there’s at least a chance that Shaw won’t be on the field this fall.
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