Lanier linebacker Michael Shaw was third in the county with 170 tackles this season, helping the Longhorns to the state playoffs. (Staff Photo: Brandon Brigman)
At this week’s Gwinnett County all-star game practices, there weren’t many coaches who knew much about Michael Shaw.
The Lanier linebacker changed that pretty quickly.
From the first day he stepped on the practice field at Brookwood High School this week, Shaw had coaches asking “Who is No. 25?”
“He’s been really impressive,” Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said.
Playing at Lanier in Class AAAA, not many of the county’s coaches ever saw Shaw play this season.
What they missed was a highlight reel season, which included 170 tackles to be among the county leaders.
“He’s been a good player for us this season and last year as well,” Lanier head coach Billy Wells said. “He has the size and speed and intelligence to make him a good high school football player.”
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Shaw was third in the county in tackles this season. He had 170 stops, which included 130 solo tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 10 QB hurries, three sacks, three caused fumbles and one interception.
“We moved him to inside linebacker, so he could make plays and utilize his speed and talent,” Wells said. “He’s the bell cow of our defense. We counted on him to do that and he didn’t disappoint this year.”
Shaw played outside linebacker as a junior and had just 46 tackles and two sacks. He flourished as a junior when he took over Izzy Sam’s role in the middle of the defense.
“Anything to help the team,” Shaw said.
Shaw averaged 14 tackles a game, but it wasn’t uncommon to put up bigger numbers. He posted 23 tackles against Chestatee and Madison County, 19 tackles against Apalachee and 17 vs. Eastside.
“He has great vision for a linebacker,” Wells said. “He has that innate ability to find the ball carrier.”
Shaw had an interception in Lanier’s first-ever playoff game to set up the decisive touchdown and give the Longhorns their first playoff win.
“He had a lot of good games this year,” Wells said. “The bigger the game, the bigger he played.”
Lanier is in its fourth year of existence. The Longhorns played a full varsity schedule for just the second time this year and posted their first winning record at 9-3. That included the school’s first playoff berth and postseason victory.
“The season went great, considering this is our second year of full varsity play,” Shaw said. “Making it to the second round was good, but of course we would have wanted to go longer.”
Shaw has drawn interest from several college recruiters and has offers from Western Kentucky and Samford.
He’s expecting more offers soon as college coaches find out about his talents — like the rest of the county’s coaches have this week.
“I think I can prepare myself and will be ready to play at the next level,” Shaw said.
THE SHAW FILE
Name: Michael Shaw
Dream job: To own my own business
Favorite sports team: Seattle Seahawks
Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”
• Had 170 stops, which included 130 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 10 QB hurries, three sacks, three caused fumbles and one interception
• Has Division I scholarship offers from Western Kentucky and Samford
• Grew up in Las Vegas and moved to Georgia in ninth grade
• Played freshman and sophomore seasons at Centennial