South Carolina QB Connor Shaw Flying Under the Radar

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South Carolina QB Connor Shaw Flying Under the Radar
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw quietly puts up big numbers.

South Carolina's Connor Shaw is not generally regarded as one of the better quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference. He's not even regarded as the best player on his own team. That distinction belongs to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

That's okay with Shaw, who prefers keeping a low profile while directing the Gamecocks offense with a high degree of efficiency.

"We don't give too much attention to what goes around outside the locker room," said Shaw, a 6'1", 209-pound senior from Flowery Branch, Ga. "We just kind of keep it to us and we're pretty good at doing that."

Without a doubt, Shaw is better than given credit for, but he's also somewhat a victim of circumstance.

Part of Shaw's lack of notoriety stems from playing in a conference that is absolutely loaded with talent at quarterback.

In the SEC, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Georgia's Aaron Murray and LSU's Zach Mettenberger all get more attention than Shaw.

According to the latest NCAA stats, however, Shaw ranks seventh in the nation in passing efficiencyjust behind Metternberger (No. 4) and Manziel (No. 6), but well ahead of Murray (No. 14) and McCarron (No. 15).

Shaw and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota are the only quarterbacks in the nation to throw at least 10 touchdown passes this season without an interception.

When it comes to discussing the best college quarterbacks in the SEC, and for that matter the nation, Shaw has proven that he belongs in the conversation.

"When you look at his statistics over the year, it's pretty fantastic with no interceptions and a whole bunch of touchdowns and yards, all that kind of stuff," said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, a man who knows a little bit about the quarterback position.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Connor Shaw's running ability at quarterback has been a big asset to the Gamecocks.

Shaw has completed 85 of 124 passes (68.5 percent) for 1,146 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. In addition, he has rushed for 319 yards, two touchdowns and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

While those numbers don't compare to what Manziel is piling up (1,835 passing yards, 14 touchdowns), Shaw is the perfect fit in South Carolina's offense, which relies on controlling the football while relentlessly moving the chains.

With Shaw at the helm, South Carolina's offense has converted at a rate of 52.9 percent on third down, which is third-best in the SEC and eighth in the nation.

As a result, South Carolina has been three-and-out a mere seven times in 60 possessions this seasona ratio of 11.7. Only Baylor (4.1) and Texas A&M (10.1) have been better.

What Shaw does best, however, is win.

The Gamecocks are 22-4 with Shaw as the starter, including 5-1 this season.

South Carolina remains squarely in the chase for the SEC East title and Spurrier knows the biggest reason why.

"We are where we are because (Shaw) has played well," Spurrier said. "He's very important to our success, as we all know."

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes obtained firsthand.

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