Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment from arguably the most underrated prospect on the East Coast when Potomac, Maryland, The Bullis School three-star safety Bryson Shaw flipped his pledge from Wisconsin on Saturday evening.
Let's take a closer look at what Shaw – No. 660 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 – brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
The first thing that stands out on tape when it comes to the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Shaw is his overall speed and elusiveness. His very long, rangy and covers a lot of ground defensively.
Shaw recorded 30 tackles, three interceptions — two of which he returned for touchdowns — two tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for a score for the Bulldogs last season. He also added 687 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns on 66 touches while playing slot back and wide receiver.
Shaw is also a talented lacrosse player who scored 29 goals and 13 assists last spring. He committed to Maryland as a freshman over offers from powerhouse programs Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia, but decided to focus on football when he announced his commitment to Wisconsin. The Badgers don't field a varsity lacrosse team. The Orange, meanwhile, actually offered him a chance to play both sports.
Thanks to that lacrosse background, Shaw isn’t afraid to come downhill and tackle in space. He plays fast and physical, but does need to add some muscle to his frame if he wants to make game-changing hits from the safety position. It shouldn't be an issue, as we witnessed another former lacrosse player, Sam Hubbard, develop from a skinny lacrosse player to a 265-pound defensive end in only three years in the Ohio State strength and conditioning program.
Shaw may also add some value to the return game for the Buckeyes, as he averaged more than 18 yards per kickoff return and scored four special teams touchdowns last fall.
IN THE CLASS
Shaw becomes the seventh commitment — but second safety — in Ohio State’s Dynasty ’19 recruiting class. He’ll be joined at the position by Jersey four-star athlete “Rocket” Ronnie Hickman, who pledged his services to the Buckeyes earlier this month.
Though Ohio State lost starter Damon Webb and part-time contributor Erick Smith to graduation following the season, there’s still quite a bit of depth remaining at the safety position in Columbus. In fact, six players split reps this spring between the two spots, including junior Jordan Fuller; redshirt sophomores Jahsen Want and Wayne Davis; and true sophomores Isaiah Pryor, Amir Riep and Brendon White.
Fuller, who enters his second year as a starter this fall, is a likely candidate to leave school early for the NFL Draft next offseason. But unless there are some unforeseen transfers between now and then, the rest of the unit should remain intact for another year. Throw in incoming freshmen Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker — who will arrive on campus in June — and safety appears to be one of the deepest positions on the roster.
That said, Ohio State was only expected to take two safeties this cycle as a result. So Shaw’s commitment could very well indicate one or more of the above-mentioned players could be on the move.
Other notable targets for the staff include Oklahoma five-star Daxton Hill, Maryland four-star Nick Cross, Florida four-star Jordan Battle, Georgia four-star Jaylen McCollough and St. Louis four-star Jalani Williams, all of which recently listed the Buckeyes among their top schools.
Shaw — who is originally from Baltimore but lives with a host family in Potomac in order to attend the private school best know for producing Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins — cited the desire to be closer to his family as a reason for his flip on Saturday evening. Playing in Columbus as opposed to Madison cuts a 12-hour drive (or 3-hour flight) in half for them.
Though it’s unclear what those personal family matters are, we simply wish Shaw's family the best.