Connor Shaw hasnt slowed down since leaving Orlando, Fla., following a 34-24 win against Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, but he stopped briefly Saturday afternoon to reconnect with the place he now calls home.
Shaw, the winningest quarterback in South Carolina history, signed autographs for appreciative fans for four hours at Addams University Bookstore on Assembly Street.
Its really exciting for me to come back, he said. I consider this place my home, and to see all the fans out here to support me, its great.
Shaw missed last weeks team celebration at Colonial Life Arena because he was playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, a showcase game for players preparing for the NFL draft. Shaw, who played for former NFL coach Dick Vermeils winning National team, was 5-of-6 for 70 yards and one interception in the game and thought he helped himself during a week of practice leading up to the game.
It went really well, he said. It was a good opportunity for me to learn things from a new staff and learn a different playbook.
The rest of Shaws free time has been spent in Duluth, Ga., training for next months NFL Combine in Indianapolis. His days include two hours working with a quarterback coach, two hours of weight work and two hours of speed and conditioning.
It was of course a dream of mine to play in the NFL, but I never really thought Id be in this position Im in now, he said. Im very blessed.
During his week at the NFLPA game, Shaw had conversations with representatives from four NFL teams, he said, including a long conversation with Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider. The Seahawks are preparing to play in the Super Bowl behind quarterback Russell Wilson, who at 5-foot-11, is, like Shaw, shorter than the prototypical pro quarterback.
I think the dual threat quarterback is making its way in the NFL, Shaw said. I think guys like (San Francisco quarterback Colin) Kaepernick and Russell Wilson have paved the way for me.
Shaw, who signed with Charleston-based Turner Sports Management, has heard he could be drafted as early as the fourth round but also thinks theres a chance he wont be drafted, leaving him to sign with a team as a free agent.
The only thing I can control is my hard work preparing for the combine and the draft, he said. If someone picks me up, I will make sure they made the right choice.