Reeltown receiver/linebacker Eric Shaw said South Carolina was the first school to ask him to play tight end at the next level. In the end, South Carolina was the last school standing in Shaw’s recruitment.
Shaw committed to South Carolina on Thursday, choosing the Gamecocks over Auburn and Tennessee. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Shaw had 21 other scholarship offers from schools such as Florida, Georgia Tech and Texas A&M.
Shaw is considered a three-star recruit, per 247 Sports’ composite ratings. According to the same metrics, he is the 15th-best athlete in the Class of 2020 and the 18th-best rising senior in the state of Alabama.
Shaw said it was between South Carolina and Auburn when he made his decision a few weeks ago. Shaw pointed to his connection with Gamecocks tight ends coach Bobby Bentley and the way the South Carolina coaching staff explained his future role on the team as two major factors in his final decision.
For Shaw, announcing in front of a cafeteria full of Reeltown players, coaches, teachers and classmates offered him a chance to catch his breath.
“It’s been a crazy, long journey with a lot of traveling. I’m glad I can call some place home,” Shaw said. “(Committing) was a relief because all day – all week, really – everybody’s been saying ‘Auburn’ or ‘Tennessee.’ To finally let them know where I was going was a relief. I know everybody’s happy for me.”
Shaw did everything for the Rebels in 2018 before getting hurt in the team’s seventh game of the season.
Shaw was one of the Rebels’ primary receivers and ended the season with 11 receptions for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, he was a menace at linebacker, with 60 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also had two punt return touchdowns.
“He is driven, there's no doubt. That's what I tell all these coaches. They ask, 'Coach, what's one negative thing about him?' I say, 'Heck, only problem I've had with him is resting,’” Reeltown head coach Matt Johnson said. “He's always been motivated. He's a self-motivated kid. He's not a rah-rah, hollering type of guy. He's an example kid.”
Shaw’s ACL injury against Thorsby on Oct. 5 sent the then-junior directly into rehabilitation mode. Shaw jumped into his rehab work as soon as possible with the goal of defending his state track and field championship in the 110-meter hurdles.
Not only did Shaw win the 110 hurdles for the third straight year, but he also won the 300 hurdles as well as the high jump.
Shaw has set his path to the SEC after Thursday’s announcement. Although the decision leaves his future looking bright, Shaw’s main concern at this point is leading the Rebels to an unforgettable season.
“Now, I’m all in for Reeltown,” Shaw said. “We’re trying to win this championship. It’s a weight off my shoulders. Hey, I’m ready to get this thing rolling with Reeltown now.”
Shaw set his future plans one week before the Rebels’ season opener. With his focus now set on his senior season, Shaw made sure to pass along a message to the South Carolina fans who will one day watch him on Saturdays.
“I’m giving it all I’ve got,” Shaw said. “I’m with y’all through the end. I’m ready to sign now.”