COLUMBIA, S.C. (THE BIG SPUR) - As South Carolina’s new director of player development, Connor Shaw will be available to all Gamecocks football players, regardless of the position they play or the rank they have on the team. However, there is no doubt the program’s all-time winningest quarterback will be a mentor of the signal callers on the roster.
In his introductory press conference on Wednesday morning, Shaw was adamant that he will not get in the way of coaches in charge of leading the quarterbacks.
“They have a great coach in Mike Bobo and a great support staff here. They know what they’re doing from that standpoint,” Shaw said. “I think it’s going to be fun for me to just sit in the offensive meeting room and the quarterback meeting room and talk a little football, but my extent to involvement with football is going to being in sync with Coach Muschamp in seeing what’s a win for our guys on and off the field.”
However, he can at least provide advice on what it’s like to take the field at Williams-Brice Stadium and the pressures that come with being the quarterback in Columbia.
“A lot of it is blocking out the noise, what’s important and how to progress each day. That’s what you have to focus on,” Shaw said. “There are a lot of things, especially as a quarterback, that present distractions for you. It’s about understanding what’s important and honing in on that.”
Head coach Will Muschamp knows how much Shaw can impact the football team, especially the position he played.
“I personally feel he’ll be a tremendous asset to guys at that position. It’s easier to talk through things when you’ve been there and done that,” Muschamp said. “He certainly has at a high level. I don’t think there is any question that will be a huge benefit to us moving forward. Because of social media everyone has a platform, everyone has an opinion, no matter how ignorant it might be. I think what he said is great in control the controlables, control the things that are important. Someone’s opinion on Twitter is not really important. That’s hard when you’re dealing with 17, 18, 19 and 20-year-olds because they are concerned about the perception of things and no totally focused in on the reality of what’s going on and how we need to improve and get better as an individual player or football team.”
South Carolina has a mixed bag of experience levels at the quarterback position heading into preparation for the 2020 season. Sophomore Ryan Hilinski’s eight starts against SEC competition is the most on the team. Colorado State graduate transfer Collin Hill will likely miss spring practices due to knee surgery recovery, but he’s played in 18 over his career. Redshirt junior Jay Urich, who played receiver some in 2019, has appeared in two games in his first three seasons. Redshirt sophomore Dakereon Joyner has appeared in nine games, but is a candidate to move positions. Freshman Luke Doty is a Class of 2020 four-star dual-threat quarterback, ranked No. 65 overall in the nation and No. 3 at his position. He is already on campus as a midyear enrollee.
“What I will offer is authentic feedback and open dialogue to whatever they feel they need help with,” Shaw said. “I do understand what they’re go through, how busy they are and what they’re navigating through. I can certainly offer some experience I’ve had as a student-athlete, in the NFL and how to be a professional outside of football. I’m really excited.”
As the Gamecocks starting quarterback, Shaw led Carolina to a 27-5 record, including a 17-0 record at Williams-Brice Stadium. In his four-year career, Shaw completed 480-of-733 passes (65.5 percent) for 6,074 yards with 56 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,683 yards and 17 scores.