While he may not be the most talented player on the team, there is no doubt, at this point, that Connor Shaw is the most valuable player for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Shaw has become the leader of the 14th-ranked team in the country, and he proved it again on Saturday.
In a 52-7 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks, Shaw was 19-of-28 through the air for 219 yards, with three touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 37 yards and another score, as the Gamecocks scored 52-straight points after falling behind 7-0.
Shaw leads with his play, but also with his toughness. Just two weeks ago, in a win over Central Florida, Shaw suffered a shoulder injury that appeared to be significant. He missed nearly all of that game, and immediately after the game, Gamecocks’ head coach Steve Spurrier estimated that Shaw would miss at least a couple of weeks.
However, the very next Saturday, as the Gamecocks were beating the Kentucky Wildcats, it was Shaw behind center, playing through the pain, although many did not notice because of another injury on the South Carolina sideline. Nearly all of the attention was on the fact that the Gamecocks’ standout defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney missed the game due to sore ribs.
Shaw is the anti-Clowney, loving the game so much that he is willing to play through the pain, and willing to sacrifice for his teammates. While Clowney is focused on making it to the next level, Shaw is concerned with only the next game, and it shows. Shaw is the type of player that nearly any coach in the nation would take on their team. And Spurrier is glad that Shaw is his quarterback.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.