Saturday, April 21, 2018
Colleges

Marcus Shaw moves up USF Bulls' depth chart

TAMPA — In Skip Holtz's first game as USF coach two years ago, Marcus Shaw was a freshman getting mop-up duty in a romp over Stony Brook when he piled up 99 yards of offense in the fourth quarter, including a 63-yard touchdown run.

In two seasons since, the running back from Arcadia hasn't built on that promising debut, totaling 97 yards of offense. He played well on special teams last year, with 11 tackles and a 79-yard kickoff return against Connecticut, but his potential for big plays on offense had largely been on the shelf.

"He has great talent," Holtz said Tuesday, preparing for Saturday's opener against Chattanooga. "He has speed, he has athleticism, he's shifty, he can make you miss in the open field. He's physical, he's tough. He has all the attributes you want. But if you can't trust him to go the right way or block the right guy when he doesn't have the ball, then you can't play him. That's where I think he's matured and developed."

In the past month, Shaw has had the consistency and maturity coaches had hoped to see in his first two seasons. He has pushed to No. 2 on the depth chart behind senior Demetris Murray, and as the Bulls open the season hoping for a major turnaround, Shaw has as much buzz around him as any player in camp.

"I've matured, a lot, very much," said Shaw, who was suspended from two games late last season. "I understand what I'm here for now."

Two weeks ago, when Shaw first saw his name listed as a co-starter with Murray, he immediately called his mother in Arcadia.

"That's the first person I called," he said. "She told me to pray, and keep God first."

The past two years have taught Shaw humility as he went from one of the state's leading rushers as a junior and senior to relative obscurity on a college roster loaded with high school stars. The Stony Brook game wasn't the first time Shaw dominated lesser competition. While at DeSoto County High, he once piled up 344 yards on eight carries against Estero, with five touchdowns of 40 yards or longer.

Now, he's back in position to shine, and with Murray and No. 3 running back Lindsey Lamar being seniors, he could have an even larger role in 2013. Knowing the hard work it has taken to get to this position, he says he's not going to let it get away from him.

"It taught me that everything is not given to you," said the 5-foot-9, 189-pound back. "You have to earn it. Even if I do get (the No. 2 job), I'm not going to get complacent. I'm still going to work. I realize how much it means to me."

Shaw's maturation has come as Holtz shifted tight ends coach Larry Scott, an offensive lineman on USF's first team in 1997, over to coach running backs. Shaw said he has identified with Scott on a personal level, and that the running backs are "brothers," brought closer by competition among them.

"(Scott) is teaching me more about life, about being a better person," Shaw said. "I've been trying my hardest, putting God first. Hopefully he'll be with me. I pray all the time. I don't just pray to ask for stuff. I pray to thank him for stuff, too. Without him, I wouldn't be here."

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf. Follow him on Twitter at @GregAuman.

Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18