Although Reeltown senior Eric Shaw has been committed to South Carolina for several months now, it became official last week as he signed his National Letter of Intent alongside classmate Cameron Faison, who will continue his football career at Dodge City (Kansas) Community College.
“It feels amazing and it’s a weight off my shoulders,” Shaw said. “I’ve been committed for a while but to finally have it official, there ain’t no better feeling than that.”
Reeltown coach Matt Johnson echoed those sentiments. He and Shaw have traveled far and wide throughout Shaw’s recruiting process and although it’s been a great journey, Johnson was happy to have Shaw finally make it official.
“I’ve coached on teams that have had kids recruited and go onto the next level, Division I and SEC even, but the magnitude of his recruitment was just different,” Johnson said. “He was on both sides of the ball and with his frame; he’s got NFL measurements so the magnitude was so big. It’s nice to just go, ‘Phew.’ I know it’s the same way with him; I know he’s relived to finally put pen to paper.”
Shaw was originally recruited as a tight end to South Carolina but the Gamecocks moved him to athlete on signing day Wednesday, and Shaw said he’s excited about the opportunity to play on either side of the ball.
As a Rebel, Shaw was a force offensively and got worked in more on that side of the ball this year, but his defensive numbers were off the chart. He finished with 125 tackles, including 18 for a loss and three sacks. Shaw also got a chance to play on the defensive side at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and that let him know just how much he likes that side.
“(South Carolina) really wants me to come in and they’re going to try me at both positions on both sides of the ball, so I thought it was a no-brainer (to go there) then,” Shaw said. “I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I’m just excited to further my football career. It’s really just a blessing to be able to play on Saturdays; that’s how I’m looking at it. It’s another opportunity to play the sport that I love.”
Faison’s recruitment process has also been ongoing for quite some time. He was getting a lot of attention from South Alabama during his junior year but when all eyes were on Reeltown through Shaw’s recruitment, Faison also started to get some more looks. He also got an offer from South Carolina but decided to go the JUCO route for academic reasons.
“(Dodge City) is somewhere far where I know I can’t come back,” Faison said. “I’m gonna have to push through everything. I feel like it’s going to get me better and prepare me to go Division I.”
Dodge City is well known for helping football players get to the next level and Johnson knows if Faison, who graduated early from Reeltown, can continue on an academic upswing, there are big things ahead.
“He was highly recruited athletically,” Johnson said. “He kinda had a little bit of a late start academically, but he made his mind up that he wanted to play college football so he got on that path. You gotta be pretty doggone good to play JUCO football ’cause the majority of the guys that you’re going to be playing against are going to be Power 5 players. He’ll be there. If he handles his business, I feel sure about that. The way he’s tackled the last part of his academic side has been phenomenal.”
Like Shaw, Faison was also listed as an athlete and Johnson is excited to see where both end up on the playing field.
“Both of them started for us on both sides of the football, which has opened up their recruitment because they can do that in college,” Johnson said. “Cam could be an SEC corner or he could be an SEC athlete or returner or a slot guy; same thing with Eric. He could play linebacker or tight end, wide receiver. Once you get to that level, you never know what’s going to happen. We could be looking at two guys that are playing in the league one day very easily.”