At one point in his life, Bryson Shaw was committed to the University of Maryland to play lacrosse.
At a more recent point in his life, he was committed to Wisconsin to play safety.
Shaw committed to Wisconsin on January 27, 2018. One week later, he received an offer from Ohio State.
Nearly five months later, Shaw decommitted from the Badgers and verbally committed to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Shaw is a rangy (6-2 175) 3-star safety out the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, which is the same school that sent former Buckeye quarterback Dwayne Haskins to OSU.
Shaw was ranked the No. 45 safety in the 2019 class per the 247Sports Composite and the No. 575 player overall. In 247’s own rankings, however, he is much higher up the board as a 4-star prospect and the No. 19 safety in the nation.
The defensive player of the year in his football conference last season, Shaw arrived at Ohio State this summer.
What To Like
Bryson Shaw’s highlights are more offense than they are defense, and even though he is going to play defense at Ohio State, the player that keeps coming to my mind when I watch his junior highlights is Parris Campbell.
Watch these three plays and then tell me I’m wrong.
It is easy to project that kind of movement to the defensive backfield. Shaw can cover a lot of ground quickly on offense, which means he can do the same on defense.
In high school, Shaw played both deep safety and a strong safety/linebacker type of position, doing both with a necessary level of physicality.
There are more highlights on offense than defense for Bryson Shaw, but this one gives you a pretty good idea of the physicality he brings to the safety position. pic.twitter.com/jhmOJnWrYX
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 11, 2019
There is no fear of contact on Shaw’s part and he is a more-than-willing participant in run defense. When he is up on the line, he is an active pass rusher when needed, but will also stick his nose between the tackles and become the lowest man on the pile.
He does a nice job of locating the football as a run stopper or as a center fielder.
When he isn’t up on the line helping out with the run, he is capable of interception returns like this first play.
Bryson Shaw is tall, long, and has a frame to add plenty of good weight.
He clearly has the long speed to cover ground, but there is more to the job than straight lines. Fortunately, that’s where his lacrosse prowess comes in, because straight lines don’t go very far lacrosse. He is mobile and agile and can adjust on the fly.
Watching his highlights, you will also see a tenacious teammate who will run players down just to block them.
Safeties have to be many things in Ohio State’s defense, and Bryson Shaw looks capable of any of them.
Ohio State returns eight safeties from last year’s team, so Shaw will have a thick depth chart to get through. He is also one of two incoming freshman safeties, joining early enrollee Ronnie Hickman in the class. Hickman was dealing with an injury in the spring, so Shaw’s arrival this summer won’t put him too far behind Hickman in terms of on-field experience.
A redshirt year is likely, but there will still be some early-season action that he could take part in.
Watching him return the ball on special teams, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he found his way into a regular role in the kicking game, but probably on the coverage side.
The Buckeyes could be needing two new safeties and possibly a new Bullet after this season, so the 2019 season is going to be a very big audition for every other safety on this roster, including Shaw.
The Bottom Line
If you look at the rankings, you’ll see Bryson Shaw as a 3-star prospect, but if you look at the timeline of his involvement with Ohio State, you’ll see a player that the Buckeyes wanted early, and wanted badly.
Ohio State offered Shaw a full year before signing day for his 2019 class. They offered him well before his senior season. They saw enough from him as a junior to know they wanted him to be a Buckeyes.
He is still getting bigger and stronger, and his speed and tenacity are well-suited for the position.
With Ohio State now essentially using three safeties in its base defense, the path to playing time just got a little bit easier for every Buckeye safety on the roster. But they’re still going to have to earn it.
Expecting more than the customary three games of action for Shaw this season might be optimistic, but after that, jobs are going to be open.
At the very least, Shaw should be in contention for a job next year.