Quarterbacks, especially at major conference programs, seldom go overlooked or underappreciated. Whether from fans, the media or opposing defenses, attention is almost always constant. This past season in the SEC was a prime example of the stir star signal callers can cause. With Johnny Manziel, Nick Marshall, A.J. McCarron, Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray, the league's clout-coated version of M&M'S, the conference was home to some of the most recognizable names in the game. Relatively speaking, South Carolina's Connor Shaw was rarely mentioned. His resume, being his school's winningest quarterback ever, never losing a home game in three years as a starter and having the nation's best touchdown-to-interception ratio this past fall, should come with confetti and a glass case. Shaw wasn't a Heisman Trophy contender or an All-American candidate. He is, instead, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in college football history. Using every possible method of evaluation, Shaw is as good as it gets. When he signed with the Gamecocks out of Georgia's Flowery Branch High School in 2010, South Carolina had won just over 50% of its games in a history that dated all of the way back to 1892. As a starter, Shaw, himself, compiled a record of 27-5, a staggering 84.3% winning rate. Prior to him taking over under center his sophomore season, the Gamecocks had reached double digits in wins, ten in 1984, just once all-time. Shaw led South Carolina to a school-record eleven victories in 2011, 2012 and 2013. "Connor Shaw, best quarterback in school history," USC head coach Steve Spurrier explained after Shaw's last regular season outing, a 31-17 win at Clemson. Not counting the Central Florida game where he was injured early, Shaw won four times against ranked opponents his senior year alone. He completed over 70% of his throws, recorded ten touchdown passes, zero interceptions, ran for a pair of scores and even had a touchdown reception in those contests. Against such competition, Shaw compiled a passer rating of 172.12; his total, just against ranked teams, was higher than Andrew Luck's figure from his entire junior season. At a program that had won just four bowl games ever prior to his arrival, Shaw won three -- all New Year's Day pairings. In triumphs over traditional powers Nebraska, Michigan and Wisconsin, each ranked foes, Shaw was a combined 51-of-68 for 766 yards, with ten total touchdowns and, again, no interceptions. In his final college game, Shaw was named the MVP of the Capital One Bowl.
Connor Shaw, college football's most underrated ever?
USA Today | Apr 7